Department of Biology & Biochemistry


Dept of Biology & Biochemistry 3S 1.01


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 6018 


Dr Ruth Massey 


Academic Biography

  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, University of Bath 2007- to date.
  • Departmental Lecturer, University of Oxford, 2004-2007.
  • Ph.D. Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. 1999.
  • B.A. (mod). Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. 1995.

Research interests

The current focus of my laboratories work is the study of several aspects of the pathogenicity of the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus:

  • The control of toxin expression by MRSA. Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are antibiotic resistant strains that cause huge health problems worldwide. We are studying the regulation of toxin expression by both hospital and community associated MRSA strains.
  • Developing biologics to prevent endocarditis and metastatic abscess formation by S. aureus. Infective endocarditis and metastatic abscesses commonly occur following the development of S. aureus sepsis, and are associated with significantly increased morbidity and mortality. This project is developing biologics that interfere with and prevent these disease symptoms developing.
  • Bacteriosafe. As part of a large consortium we are developing a “smart-dressing” for use on burn wounds, that signal to clinicians when the wound has become infected. Our role is to characterise the lytic activity of S. aureus and Pseudomonsa aerunginosa and determine the potential of this dressing to respond to the presence of these bacteria.
  • VIR-DICT: Predicting the virulence of Staphylococcus aureus from genome sequences using Systems Biology. With genome sequencing becoming cheaper and faster, what’s needed are tool that can take these genomes and provide clinicians with the information that will allow them to tailor their treatment of infected patients. Systems Biology (SB) is a new approach to analysing complex biological systems that has the potential to deliver such tools. For this project we are bringing together a multidisciplinary team of researchers (molecular biologists, microbiologists, evolutionary biologists, structural biologists and mathematical biologists) to develop a strategy to build SB tools that predicting microbial virulence.


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