Microbial Growth and Physiology

We have a long track record of research into the role of iron (and more recently
other metals and Haem) in the physiology and virulence of bacteria, which now
involves cross-college collaboration, in particular with the Department of Chemistry. One key question being addressed is how pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria acquire essential nutrients such as iron from their host and how these uptake systems are regulated, with a particular focus on the role of different uptake systems expressed by Campylobacter during gut colonisation (a major cause of food-borne Diarrhoeal disease).

A related area - focussing on Staphylococcus aureus as well as Campylobacter – investigates how bacteria respond to the low-iron environment existing in the host, not only by enhancing their uptake mechanisms, but also by using low-iron as a molecular “cue” to switch on genes encoding virulence factors.
More recent work investigates how other metals, notably copper, can be toxic
to bacteria and how disease-causing bacteria adapt to overcome this adverse
environment in their host. These studies link to a range of activity in other aspects of microbial physiology including bio-films and microbial endocrinology.

These studies link to an extensive range of experience and activity in microbial physiology that includes, (Andrew, Barer, Clokie, Ketley, O’Hare, Moody and Morrissey and also the resuscitation promoting factor studies of Mukamolova and the microbial endocrinology developments led by Freestone.

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College of Life Sciences
University of Leicester
Maurice Shock Building
University Road