Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease




+44 (0)20 7594 3073d.holden




221Flowers buildingSouth Kensington Campus





David Holden graduated from the University of Durham UK in 1977 and completed his PhD in Microbiology at University College London in 1981. He held postdoctoral fellowships in Canada and the USA before returning to the UK in 1988 to work in the Genetics Division at the National Institute for Medical Research, London. In 1990 he was appointed as a Lecturer at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (RPMS), London. In 1995 he became full Professor of Molecular Microbiology. Holden was Director of the Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (MRC CMBI), between 2012 and 2019. In 2016, he was appointed as the first Regius Professor of Infectious Disease in the UK, conferred to Imperial College as part of the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations.

Holden is best known for inventing a technique called signature-tagged mutagenesis (also termed barcoding) for identification of mutants with altered growth in mixed populations. Using STM his group has identified numerous genes of Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Salmonella that are required for virulence. The group currently comprises 12 researchers who study bacterial virulence mechanisms, in particular those of Salmonella. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the American Academy of Microbiology, the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), and an EMBO Member. He co-founded the vaccine company Microscience, which was acquired in 2005 by Emergent Biosolutions. He has served on Board of Reviewing Editors for Science magazine and various scientific advisory boards.

Commercial Activity

Commercial spinoffs

founder, Microscience.



Godlee C, Holden DW, 2023, Transmembrane substrates of type three secretion system injectisomes, Microbiology-sgm, Vol:169, ISSN:1350-0872

Godlee C, Cerny OE, Liu M, et al., 2022, The <i>Salmonella</i> transmembrane effector SteD hijacks AP1-mediated vesicular trafficking for delivery to antigen-loading MHCII compartments, Plos Pathogens, Vol:18, ISSN:1553-7366

Cerny O, Godlee C, Tocci R, et al., 2021, CD97 stabilises the immunological synapse between dendritic cells and T cells and is targeted for degradation by the Salmonella effector SteD, Plos Pathogens, Vol:17, ISSN:1553-7366, Pages:1-28

Matthews-Palmer T, Gonzalez-Rodriguez N, Calcraft T, et al., 2021, Structure of the cytoplasmic domain of SctV (SsaV) from the Salmonella SPI-2 injectisome and implications for a pH sensing mechanism, Journal of Structural Biology, Vol:213, ISSN:1047-8477

Heggie A, Cerny O, Holden DW, 2021, SteC and the intracellular <i>Salmonella</i>-induced F-actin meshwork, Cellular Microbiology, Vol:23, ISSN:1462-5814

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