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Division of Microbiology and Infection Seminar

12th February 2014 @ 12.00pm-1.00pm, GLT4, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick


A Europe-wide population snapshot of clinical staphylococcus aureus using next-generation sequencing

Professor Ed Feil, Professor of Microbial Evolution, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath


Staphylococcus aureus confers a significant public health burden within health care settings, and increasingly the community. The problem is exacerbated by the acquisition of resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics (Methicillin resistant S. aureus; MRSA). The advent of next-generation sequencing promises more effective surveillance and management of clinically important MRSA clones, both on local (ie single hospital) and national scales. I will present whole-genome sequence data for 311 disease causing S. aureus isolates (both MRSA and MSSA) recovered from 26 European countries over a 6-month period. The data helps to identify recent patterns of spatial spread, and provides clues as to the evolution of this important pathogenic species.


Ed FeilMy interests lie in understanding the processes underpinning the evolution of bacterial pathogens over very short time scales. Much of my research career has been spent generating and interpreting multlocus sequence typing (MLST) data for numerous species. I developed the BURST algorithm to help visualise these datasets and this procedure was implemented by Brian Spratt’s group at Imperial College as eBURST.

More recently, I have also been working with the Pathogen Genomics Group at the Sanger Institute on the use of next-generation sequencing data to understand the micro-evolution and transmission of MRSA. This work was published in Science in 2010 (Vol.327 no. 5964 pp. 469-474). I am a PI in the CRCUK project, headed by Prof Sharon Peacock , looking at implementing this technology into routine epidemiological surveillance, in the FP7 Project TROCAR and in a consortium project funded by the insect pollinator initiativelooking at the epidemiology of European Foul Brood in honeybees.

Other interests include short-term purifying selection, mutation biases and the evolution of base composition. Key collaborators in these areas are Eduardo Rocha , Laurence Hurst and Dawn Field.