Group Overview

The Group takes a multidisciplinary approach to investigating a range of biological problems ranging from basic biology to prototype translational projects.  There are several areas of research within the group which centres around the study of human pathogens with an overall aim at understanding microbial disease processes and exploiting the knowledge we generate for translational purposes wherever possible.

Periodontal pathogens: Our main focus over the last few years has centered on Gram-negative anaerobic species, mainly Tannerella forsythia (pictured) and Porphyromonas gingivalis that are involved in the common disease periodontitis, estimated to affect 300 million people worldwide.  However, most of the processes which we study in these bacteria are relevant to a range of human pathogenic bacteria with wide-ranging microbiological implications.  For example we have focused on biofilm formation, host-interactions and the role of glycans and sialic acid in periodontal pathogens.  This work often involves molecular, biochemical and increasingly structural biology of bacterial enzymes involved in their in vivo physiology.

Synthetic Biology: Our other main focus is in the developing area of Synthetic Biology where we are working to exploit biotechnological possibilities exploiting biological knowledge of bacteria with a particular focus on protein secretion systems, proteomics and bacterial adhesins.

The group  employ a variety of genetic and biochemical techniques while in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) we also apply a range of biophysical, biochemical and proteomic techniques to answer key questions within our areas of interest.

Research Interests:

Please use the links to the left or below to view summaries of activity in the following areas

Role of sialic acid in periodontal bacteria

Synthetic Biology

Bacterial- host interactions

Biofilm

Antimicrobials

Flagellin glycosylation