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Mark Achtman

Technical Summary

I am one of the most prominent bacterial population geneticists at the global level, with >236 primary publications and an H-Index of 82.

Scientific Contributions:

Genetics and mechanisms of bacterial conjugation (1971-1978)

Population genetic structure of E. coli (1978-1983): delineation of clonal groupings among E. coli expressing the K1 capsular polysaccharide from invasive disease and healthy carriage

Genetic diversification during pandemic spread of Neisseria meningitidis expressing the serogroup A capsular polysaccharide (1983-2001)

MultiLocus Sequence Typing of bacterial species (MLST, 1978)

Phylogeographic spread of Helicobacter pylori together with humans during their ancient migrations (1998-2009)

Global historical reconstruction of the origins of Yersinia pestis and genetic/genomic diversity of Yersinia in general (1998-2014)

Global genetic/genomic diversity of S. enterica serovar Typhi (2001-2008)

Population genetic structure of E. coli according to MLST, including curation of the MLST database (since 2006). These efforts have provided a common language for microbiologists in this area, e.g. the ST131 Complex of bacteria that is a common global cause of UTI and invasive disease.

Population genetic structure of S. enterica according to MLST, including curation of the MLST database, and genomic analyses (since 2001). These efforts are changing epidemiological practise because reference laboratories all over the world are increasingly using our nomenclature to interpret epidemiological investigations.

Population genetic structure of Listeria monocytogenes, including resuscitation of a classical, historical collection of strains by H. Seeliger (2007-2012)

Concept of genetically, monomorphic clades of bacterial pathogens (since 2008), and investigations of the historical patterns of microevolution within selected clades, including Y. pestis, S. enterica serovars Agona and Paratyphi A, El Tor Vibrio cholerae.

Development of EnteroBase, a website to provide genomes and genotypes instead of only short read archives.

Selected publications:

1. Achtman, M., 2016. How old are bacterial pathogens?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1836), p.20160990. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0990

2. Kay, G.L., Sergeant, M.J., Zhou, Z., Chan, J.Z.M., Millard, A., Quick, J., Szikossy, I., Pap, I., Spigelman, M., Loman, N.J. and Achtman, M., 2015. Eighteenth-century genomes show that mixed infections were common at time of peak tuberculosis in Europe. Nature communications, 6, p.6717. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7717

3. Zhou, Z., McCann, A., Weill, F.X., Blin, C., Nair, S., Wain, J., Dougan, G. and Achtman, M., 2014. Transient Darwinian selection in Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A during 450 years of global spread of enteric fever. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(33), pp.12199-12204. DOI:

4. Cui, Y., Yu, C., Yan, Y., Li, D., Li, Y., Jombart, T., Weinert, L.A., Wang, Z., Guo, Z., Xu, L. and Zhang, Y., 2013. Historical variations in mutation rate in an epidemic pathogen, Yersinia pestis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(2), pp.577-582. DOI: