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Inaugural Symposium | Speakers


mark achtman
 
Professor Mark Achtman
Mark Achtman performed research at Max-Planck Institutes in Berlin, Germany from 1971-2008. In 2007 he moved to University College Cork, as Professor in Microbiology and Principle Investigator of the Science Foundation of Ireland, Mark is now Professor in Bacterial Population Genetics in the Division of Microbiology and Infection, Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick. He is an internationally recognised and highly cited expert on population genetics of pathogenic bacteria. Prior work focussed on epidemic waves of cerebrospinal meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitides. More recently, he has used the differentiation of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori to resolve ancient global patterns of spread of its human host. He has a particular interest in historical evolution of a variety of bacterial pathogens, which has resulted in investigating the correlations between historical accounts of the pandemic spread of plague with microevolution in the causative agent, Yersinia pestis. Currently, considerable efforts are being exerted on understanding the population genetic patterns within the gastrointestinal pathogen, Salmonella enterica.
 
emily adams 
 
Dr Emily Adams
Dr Emily Adams, Lecturer in Tropical Diagnostics; joint appointment LSTM’s Centre for Applied Health Research (CAHRD) and the University of Warwick, Medical School. Dr Adams works on research activities that encompass the development and evaluation of appropriate diagnostics for tropical diseases. This ranges from point-of-care diagnostics such as rapid-diagnostic-tests (RDTs) to simplified molecular diagnostics such as LAMP. She is particularly interested in the systematic evaluation of diagnostics and their implementation alongside QC.
 
baba brinkman Baba Brinkman
Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rap artist, writer, and former tree-planter who worked in the Rocky Mountains every summer for over ten years, personally planting more than one million trees. He is also a scholar with a Masters in Medieval and Renaissance English Literature. His thesis drew parallels between the worlds of hip-hop music and literary poetry.
To date Baba has written or co-written five hip-hop theatre shows, including The Canterbury Tales Remixed, The Rap Guide to Evolution, and Ingenious Nature. He won three awards and entertained thousands while performing six full seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The Rap Guide to Evolution won the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award in Edinburgh in 2009, and went on to tour the USA, Australia, and the UK, including three appearances at regional TED conferences and a performance on national TV on The Rachel Maddow Show. The show was recently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for its extended off-Broadway run at the Soho Playhouse. When he is not on tour, Baba resides in New York City.
 
 jackie chan
Dr Jacqueline Chan 
After graduating from the University of Cambridge with a BA in Plant and Microbial Sciences in 2006 and I joined the University of Warwick to work with Nicholas Mann and Hendrik Schäfer isolating and characterising bacteriophages of marine Roseobacter. After completion of my PhD I moved to the pathogenomics lab of Mark Pallen in Birmingham where I worked on the genomic profile of the emerging hospital pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii. During this time I also became involved in a collaboration with Helen Donoghue from UCL tracking the evolution and spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in ancient and historical samples. In March 2013, I moved into the newly formed Division of Microbiology and Infection to continue my work examining the genomic epidemiology of diseases new and old.
 
 katherine denby 
Dr Katherine Denby
Katherine has a long standing interest in gene regulation and signal transduction in plants. She obtained her D.Phil in 1995 from Oxford University for work on metabolic regulation of gene expression. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Rob Last at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University. There she investigated regulation of the tryptophan biosynthetic pathway and through metabolites produced from this pathway became interested in defence mechanisms. From 1999 Katherine was a lecturer at the University of Cape Town, South Africa before moving to the University of Warwick in July 2006.
 
emma denham Dr Emma Denham
I graduated from the University of Leicester with a BSc in Genetics. Having discovered a passion for microbiology in the year I spent at the University of the Algarve, Portugal in the lab of Leonor Faleiro, investigating autolysins in Helicobacter pylori, I moved to the then Institute for Animal Health, Compton, UK. Under the supervision of Jamie Leigh (now at the Nottingham Vet School) and Phil Ward (now at Oxford) I completed my PhD, investigating the lipoprotein processing enzymes in Streptococcus uberis. After completion of my PhD I moved to the lab of Jan Maarten van Dijl, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands for my post-doctoral period. I switched bacterial species again, studying the Gram-positive model organism Bacillus subtilis and the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. I was involved in several EU consortia, including BaSysBio and BaSynthec and became interested in all levels of regulation. Through studying B. subtilis gene expression in real time using Live Cell Array technology, Time-lapse microscopy and Tiling arrays, I identified several novel aspects of genetic regulation. I also developed an interest in the mechanisms bacteriocins use to kill their target organisms. In May 2013 I joined the Division of Microbiology and Infection, Warwick Medical School and am continuing research into novel mechanisms of regulation.  

 gad frankel Professor Gad Frankel
Professor Gad Frankel's research focuses on mechanisms of bacterial colonisation and infection, with particular interest in biology of bacterial proteins that allow take over of a host cell (translocated bacterial effectors). Gad has been collaborating with Gordon Dougan for many years and is affiliated with the Microbial pathogenesis group. Gad has worked with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute since 2001, initially on bacterial genome projects (including enteropathogenic E. coli, Citrobacter rodentium, Legionella pneumophila and Salmonella species) and more recently on host-pathogen interaction. He graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1982 with BSc in biology. In 1998 Gad received his PhD in genetics and did his postdoctoral training first at Stanford University and then at Imperial College. In 1998 he was appointed lecturer at Imperial College and in 2000 and 2002 was promoted to Reader and Professor, respectively. Gad heads a multidisciplinary research group that studies host-pathogen interaction. The remit of these studies ranges from the atomic resolution of virulence factors to in vivo imaging of infection in real time.
 
 andy millard
Dr Andrew Millard
I completed my PhD at the University of Warwick in 2003 under the supervision of Prof Nick Mann on the molecular characterisation of marine cyanophages.I continued my interest in bacteriophages, working for Professors Nick Mann and Dave Scanlan on projects utilising microarrays to study the gene expression of both cyanophages and their hosts. The use of comparative genomic hybridisations combined with bioinformatic analysis to determine the core genes within cyanophages. I continue to be involved in the sequencing and annotation of a number of bacteriophages. More recently I have investigated how genomic islands within Synechococcus strains give rise to very different responses to nutrient limitation.
 
 mark_pallen.jpg
Professor Mark Pallen
Having obtained his medical education from the University of Cambridge and the London Hospital Medical College, Professor Pallen completed his specialist training as a medical microbiologist at Bart’s Hospital in London. In the mid-1990s, while completing a PhD in molecular bacteriology at Imperial College, London, Professor Pallen led a team of students to victory in the BBC2 quiz show University Challenge. In 1999, he took up a chair in microbiology at Queen’s University Belfast, then moving to the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham in 2001. Mark has been Professor of Microbial Genomics and Head of the Division of Microbiology and Infection at the Warwick Medical School since April 2013. In 2011 he appeared on an BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time on an episode examining the origins of infectious disease. Professor Pallen is also the author of The Rough Guide to Evolution, a popular and wide-ranging introduction to Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution and their ramifications in science and society.  
 

 Esther Dr Esther Robinson 
Dr Esther Robinson is a clinical academic who gained her medical degree at the University of Oxford, along with a bachelor’s degree in Physiology. Hospital junior doctor jobs developed her interest in infection and antibiotic resistance, leading to a training programme in medical microbiology and virology, initially in the West Midlands and later in Oxford. Her DPhil thesis, with Professor Derrick Crook of the Modernising Medical Microbiology consortium in Oxford, was on horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance. She has also collaborated with work on transferable genetic elements in Clostridium difficile and multiply-resistant gram negative organisms. As a busy clinician she deals daily with the challenges of hospital-acquired infection and antibiotic resistance and this directly stimulates her research, where she is developing her interests in the genomic epidemiology of bacteria and their resistance genes, alongside an honorary consultant medical microbiologist post at the Heart of England Foundation Trust. 
 
 meera Dr Meera Unnikrishnan 
I did my post-graduation from the M.S. University of Baroda, India, after which I moved to the UK to do a PhD at Imperial College London. During my PhD, I studied the biological functions of superantigens produced by Streptococcus pyogenes. I did my postdoctoral research at Harvard University, where I was awarded an American Heart Association post-doctoral fellowship to investigate the mechanisms by which the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi invades host cells. I then continued my research at Harvard focusing on another clinically important intracellular pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This is where I got interested in the specialized type VII secretion systems. My studies showed that one of these type VII systems, Esx3, was essential for both bacterial growth and virulence in vitro and in vivo. After my postdoctoral training, I joined Novartis Vaccines in Italy as a Senior Scientist where I worked on two major nosocomial pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. I continued studying type VII systems in S. aureus, focusing on how staphylococcal Esx proteins, which are vaccine candidates, mediate host-pathogen interactions. I have been involved in Marie Curie Actions-funded, industry-academia networks such as the European Institute of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (EIMID) and Clostnet. I will start a Faculty position at the University of Warwick very soon where I will focus my future work on mechanisms employed by Gram positive bacterial pathogens to manipulate the host.
 
nick2.jpg Dr Nick Waterfield
Since the 1st July 2013, Nick Waterfield has been an Associate Professor (Reader) within the Division of Microbial Infection at the University of Warwick Medical School. Previously he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Bath. He received a Ph.D. from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (UK) in 1995, working in the laboratory of Richard Le Page. This work included the study of bacteriophages and gene expression in the food-grade bacterium Lactococcus lactis to develop tools for a novel mucosal vaccine delivery system. During this time he developed an interest in bacterial toxins while working on novel subunit vaccines for various bacterial toxins of veterinary interest. In 2000 moved to the University of Bath to work as a senior postdoc with Prof. Richard ffrench-Constant on the insect pathogen Photorhabdus. He subsequently secured a permanent academic post as lecturer. His research interests lie in the relationship between invertebrate and mammalian pathogens, more specifically in how insect pathogens influence the evolution of human disease. He has also recently worked on three EU FP7 consortiums, BACTERIOSAFE, EMBEK1 and GAMEXP. The EMBEK project related to the development of novel plasma-deposited antimicrobial surfaces for bandages, catheters and medical implants. BACTERIOSAFE is concerned with the development of nanotechnology based biomimetic surfaces for responsive release of antimicrobials upon the presence of pathogens. The GAMEXP project is focused upon using genomic approaches to natural product isolation from the insect pathogens, Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus. He is currently using a systems biology approach to understand the evolution of human pathogenicity in the genus Photorhabdus.
 
 liz_wellington.asp 
Professor Elizabeth Wellington
Professor Liz Wellington is an active member of the Environment theme within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick. She holds a personal chair and, with her research group, is involved in the study of bacteria in soil and survival of pathogenic bacteria in the environment. Research work focuses on understanding the ecological roles for specific bacterial activities including antibiotic production, resistance and exoenzyme production and analysing the impact of lateral gene transfer. During the past decade expertise has been developed in the detection, quantification and analysis of soil microbial communities, including the identification of pathogen reservoirs outside of their hosts. Her group was one of the first to report the molecular detection of antibiotic biosynthesis in soil and co-evolution of resistance in non-producers. Subsequent work indicated that waste disposal practices further disseminate antibiotic resistance gene into the environment. Studying the fate of introduced bacteria in the environment has focused on the survival of pathogens such as Salmonella species, MRSA, Dichelobacter nodosus and slow growing mycobacteria including the M. tuberculosis complex. Recent research produced the first non-invasive methods for monitoring shedding in wild life and cattle infected with bTB in order to elucidate the impact of control measures on transmission. 
peterwinstanley Professor Peter Winstanley
Professor Peter Winstanley is the Dean of Warwick Medical School. Born and raised in Liverpool, Professor Winstanley graduated from Liverpool Medical School in 1979, and undertook his first training posts locally before moving to the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and the Brompton Hospital. After spells in the General Infirmary at Leeds and the University of Liverpool, he was awarded an MRC Training Fellowship, and spent 3-years working in Kenya (with the University of Oxford) on the treatment of severe malaria.
 
 lawrence young Professor Lawrence S. Young
Lawrence Young is internationally recognised for his work on the role of virus infection (Epstein–Barr virus and human papillomavirus) in the pathogenesis of various tumours. He also has an interest in gene and immunotherapy and this work has resulted in a number of clinical trials. He has published over 220 research papers in scientific journals as well as reviews and book chapters in the fields of virology, cancer and tumour immunology. He has received major grants from Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia Research Fund and the Medical Research Council – these total £52 million. He has been a member of grant awarding panels of the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK and the Leukaemia Research Fund and was vice-Chair of the UoA2 Cancer Studies panel in RAE2008. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Science in 2007 and was invited for entry in Who’s Who in the same year. Lawrence is listed amongst the World’s most cited scientists in the ISI’s (Institute for Scientific Information) list of Highly Cited Researchers and has an H-index of 82 (http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=kRVYgy0AAAAJ). Lawrence was Head of the Division of Cancer Studies at the University of Birmingham from 2001-2007 and was appointed as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham in 2008. He was a non-Executive Director of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust from 2008-2010. From 2008-2012 Lawrence was a Director of Alta Innovations Ltd, the technology transfer company for the University of Birmingham and was also a Director various associated companies. Lawrence has an interest in the communication of science particularly cancer research and frequently contributes to various media stories on this subject. Lawrence was appointed as Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research (Life Sciences and Medicine) and Capital Development at the University of Warwick in January 2013.