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Professor Christopher Dowson

Professor of Microbiology


Phone: 024 765 23534

Office: IBRB2.24

Dowson webpage

Research Clusters

Microbiology & Infection

Warwick Centres and GRPs

Health GRP (AMR theme co-lead)

Warwick Antimicrobial Interdisciplinary Centre (WAMIC)

Warwick Antimicrobial Screening Facility

Sir Howard Dalton Centre for Translational Mechanistic Enzymology (Co-Director)

Vacancies and Opportunities

For postdoctoral opportunities, and interest in potential collaborations, please contact me at the above email address.

Research Interests

Professor Chris G Dowson has, for many years, examined the emergence and evolution of antibiotic resistance across a wide range of bacteria. His recent focus has been to better understand how penicillin targets bacteria. This began during his postdoctoral time at the University of Sussex, in the laboratory of Professor Spratt (1986-1990) and subsequently with his Lister Institute Centenary Fellowship (1991-1996). He currently holds a personal chair at Warwick University and is a past member of the Medical Research Council Infections and Immunity Board. He has established the Sir Howard Dalton Centre HDC for Translational Mechanistic Enzymology, the Warwick Antimicrobial Interdisciplinary Centre WAMIC, location of the Medicines Discovery Catapult MDC Laboratory facility at Warwick and has been involved with philanthropic research fundraising regionally across Warwickshire for the past 16 years with the Medical and Life Sciences Research Fund MLSRF and the national antibiotic discovery charity Antibiotic Research UK ANTRUK.

Chris' research has been funded by BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, NIH, Wellcome Trust, smaller charities and industry. It is highly collaborative, involving teams of biologists, chemists, engineers and physicists across universities in the UK SWON Alliance CA, CHN Accelerate CHUNK US, SA H3D, EU, AUS to help drive innovations from this research forward to a commercial outcome, which includes the development and use of high throughput biochemical assays and structural determination using the XChem platform at Diamond Light source and virtual reality to visualise antibiotic: target protein interactions. Industry partners past and present include AstraZeneca, Basilea, BicycleTx, Cubist, LifeArc, Merck, Novartis, Novobiotic, GSK and supported recently in AMR SME engagement with the Medicines Discovery Catapult MDC at Warwick and currently the Antimicrobial Screening Facility at Warwick. He is currently engaged in the open source antibiotics discovery program and helping to develop and influence global AMR discovery policy and training for the next generation of AMR leaders. This has leapt forward with a £1.5M donation from the GB Sasakawa Foundation to drive UK-Japan collaboration to tackle AMR. This award will support two policy fellows, one from UKHSA the 'Dame Sally Davies Fellowship' and another NCGM, Tokyo the 'Mr Yasuhisa Shinozaki Fellowship' plus four science programs arising from the GBSF/HDC Tokyo workshop March 2024

Research: Technical Summary

The development of new reagents and new assays are crucial underpinning technologies enabling a multi-target focus to antibiotic discovery, with priorities in peptidoglycan biosynthesis and protein biosynthesis (aminoacyl tRNA synthetases, aaRS). The focus of my research is peptidoglycan biosynthesis as an enduringly attractive target or antibiotic discovery, including the multi-targeting of penicillin-binding proteins and Mur ligases.

I am a Co-Director of the Sir Howard Dalton Centre for Translational Mechanistic Enzymology. The Centre brings takes an interdisciplinary approach to drive innovative solutions for antimicrobial discovery, and build research and training capacity to address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance:

  • Enzymology: Protein production, substrate synthesis, kinetic characterisation, developing probe compounds, assay development, High-throughput screening and inhibitor discovery
  • Structural Biology: X-Ray Crystallography, NMR, High Resolution Imaging (Electron Microscopy, Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Light Microscopy
  • Computational Modelling: Systems modelling and structure-based modelling to develop mechanistic insights
  • Professor in Microbiology, Warwick University 2000-
  • Reader in Microbiology, Warwick University 1996-1999
  • Lister Institute (Centenary) Research Fellow, Sussex University 1991-1996
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sussex University 1986- 1990
  • PhD Microbiology, Bath University 1987
  • BSc (hons) Applied Biology, Bath University 1982