Dr Andrew Fenton

School of Biosciences


Andrew Fenton
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+44 114 222 2832

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Dr Andrew Fenton
School of Biosciences
Firth Court
Western Bank
S10 2TN

I started my lab in the School of Biosciences (formerly the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) at the Florey Institute in December 2016. Before coming to Sheffield, my post-doctoral training took me to Harvard Medical School, where I discovered my love for Streptococcus pneumoniae.

This was a jointly supervised project in the labs of both Tom Bernhardt and David Rudner where I learned the deep sequencing and genetic approaches which I now apply in my lab.

Between 2010 and 2013, I worked in the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology in Newcastle with Kenn Gerdes (now at the University of Copenhagen). Here I learned how to work on proteins in depth and drive towards understanding molecular mechanisms of biological processes.

My work focused mainly on the actin-like protein and major cell wall coordination factor MreB.

I completed a PhD in 2010 studying the predatory bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus in Liz Sockett’s lab. Predatory bacteria are fascinating and a lot of fun; here I learned how to be a scientist and the basics of a method very dear to me: time-lapse and florescence microscopy.

Things that make me happy are science (on good days), gaming, travelling and coffee.

Career history

  • 2016 - present: Florey Institute Research Fellow, School of Biosciences, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
  • 2013 – 2016: Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
  • 2010 – 2013: Research Associate, Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK.
  • 2006 – 2010: PhD, Institute of Genetics, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Research interests

Work in my lab focuses on molecular mechanisms governing bacterial cell growth and division within the host environment. We study the ellipsoid-shaped model organism and human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Pneumonia and meningitis are leading causes of death in the world. These diseases are caused by a variety of bacteria but are commonly caused by invasive S. pneumoniae. How these bacteria grow and divide inside their hosts is fundamental to our understanding of these conditions. My lab focuses on S. pneumoniae growth and division processes. Specifically, how the process of cell wall biosynthesis is governed and coordinated to maintain the cell shape and integrity as the cells grow and divide.

As S. pneumoniae cell growth takes place exclusively within the human host, we study the cell host-cell interactions to provide context of cell growth processes. We study how S. pneumoniae cells adapt to environmental changes within hosts, resists clearance by the immune system and copes with antibiotic challenges.

We use genetic screens, biochemical assays and epifluorescence microscopy to advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind these processes.


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Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles


Research group

Joining the lab

If you are interested in joining the team, please contact me at: a.k.fenton@sheffield.ac.uk

Postdoctoral fellowships

Postdocs who wish to apply for fellowships to join the team are welcome. Please contact me to discuss project ideas.

Project students and internships

Students wishing to apply for summer internships are welcome and should send me a CV and a letter describing their interests, motivations and research experience.

Teaching activities

Level 1 modules

  • MBB163 Microbiology