Professor of Microbiology, UCL

I obtained my PhD in Medical Microbiology at Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in 1975. I was appointed to the School at the end of 1998 after a career that encompassed academia (Leeds University) and industry (Sandoz Research Institute in Vienna, Bayer Research Centres in Wuppertal and West Haven and the Ciba Geigy/Novartis Centre for Advanced Drug Delivery in Horsham). I was awarded a personal chair in 2005 and am currently Professor of Microbiology at UCL School of Pharmacy.

My major research interest involves novel approaches to the treatment of infectious disease; I am particularly interested in opportunities to develop therapeutics that suppress or abrogate the emergence of drug resistant variants by modification of the bacterial phenotype. One aspect involves the investigation of enzymes with therapeutic potential that resolve severe, systemic bacterial infections by stripping away the protective polysaccharide or polypeptide capsule; current activity in this area focuses on the capsule of Bacillus anthracis.

Earlier work on the capsule of the neuropathogen Escherichia coli K1 has broadened into an investigation of the age dependency of neonatal bacterial sepsis and meningitis, with particular emphasis on initial colonization of the gastrointestinal tract. I also investigate a novel approach to the treatment of infections due to methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRSA) based on modulation of beta-lactam resistance by catechin gallates derived from Japanese green tea.

This focus on modification of bacterial phenotypes has also elicited activities on the impact of the modelled space environment on the fitness of pathogenic staphylococci.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of Microbiology, University College London