Wednesday 16 November 2016 - Hunting for the molecular mechanism of phase variable epigenetic control in bacteria.
We have recently described phase variable type I restriction modification (RM) systems in the Gram-positive bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae and reported effects of variation in methylation target specificity to relevant phenotypes. Similar phase variable systems are present in numerous bacterial species. Our current effort is to explore the functionality of these systems and elucidate the mechanism by which they influence microbial phenotypes via epigenetic modification of the host chromosome.
I joined the University of Leicester as Professor of Microbial Genetics in the Department of Genetics in Summer 2013 and hold a Honorary Consultant Microbiologist position since summer 2015 with the University Hospitals of Leicester. I have been employed before that for twenty years by the University Hospital in Siena (Italy). My research focusses on the use of genomic tools to study the physiology of microbial pathogens and their relationships with their human host. My recent work includes the exploration of the epigenetic impact phase variable methylation systems and population dynamics of bacterial pathogens during the early phases of invasive disease. A separate research path is on mobile genetic elements and antimicrobial drug resistance. My tendency in all cases is to work on multiple bacterial species in order to be able to explore common themes.