Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Infection and immunity

Research within the infection and immunity theme aims to understand how microbes interact with their human, plant or insect hosts, or natural environments. We investigate these relationships on different levels, from gene regulation to protein complexes and genomes. 
 
To get a better understanding of the traits microorganisms of the bacterial and fungal kingdoms employ to cause infections and the responses elicited in the host, we employ a wide array of techniques and models. Next-generation sequencing is aiding us in understanding disease epidemiology; structural analyses of host immune factors, such as the complement system, elucidate how pathogens adapt to the host environment; genetic and biochemical approaches are used to investigate molecular mechanism of adaptation to various environments; our in-house Manduca sexta caterpillars allow us to investigate the role of the microbiome in virulence; fruit flies are instrumental in elucidating how behaviour and nutrition affect sexually transmitted disease. 
 
Organisms of interest include, but are not limited to, important pathogens of humans, such as Bordetella pertussis, infection-and-immunity-themeMRSA, and Candida albicans, plant pathogens such as the Fusarium species complex, the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis, and fungal field isolates.
 
Our research aims to address questions pertaining to the origins and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, disease epidemiology and evolution, as well as microbial mechanisms of virulence, adaptation to hostile environments and host defence strategies. This makes our work relevant for public health and food security.
 

Research areas

Antibiotic inhibition 1

  • Molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genomics (EF, SS)
  • Host behaviour and disease transmission (NP)
  • Bacterial factors aiding in infection (AP, BJ)
  • Immune evasion and pathogenicity (JvdE, SB)
  • Biogeography of pathogenic fungi (DH)
  • Plant pathogenesis (VC, NB)
  • Signal transduction and antibiotic resistance (SG)
  • Human fungal pathogens (SD)
  • Bacterial stress responses (ED, SG)
  • Non-coding RNAs and fine-tuning of bacterial physiology (ED)
     

PhDs

There are opportunities for postgraduate research throughout our group. Interested students are encouraged to contact academic staff directly or check our PhD projects.

Find out more about studying for a postgraduate degree at Bath.