Dr Egbert Hoiczyk

School of Biosciences

Senior Lecturer

+44 114 222 2733

Full contact details

Dr Egbert Hoiczyk
School of Biosciences
Firth Court
Western Bank
S10 2TN

Career history

  • 2015 - present: Senior Lecturer, School of Biosciences, the University of Sheffield.
  • 2002 - 2015: Assistant Professor, Dept. Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
  • 1998 - 2002: Postdoctoral Fellow, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA.
  • 1997 - 1998: Postdoctoral Fellow, Max von Pettenkofer Institute, Munich, Germany.

Honours and distinctions

  • 2005: Faculty Innovation Award (Dept. of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University)
  • 2000 - 2002: Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Fellowship
  • Since 1992: Permanent Member of the German National Scholarship Foundation1986-1989 Student Fellowship of the German National Scholarship Foundation (“Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes”)
  • 1990 - 1992: PhD Fellowship of the German National Scholarship Foundation
Research interests

My laboratory uses high-resolution light and electron microscopy to study the structure, dynamics, and functions of important bacterial subcellular complexes to determine how they contribute to cellular organization.

Recent advances in high-resolution microscopy, bioinformatics, and structural determination have resulted in a fundamental reassessment of bacterial cell organization.

Once perceived as simple and unorganized, in recent years bacteria have become appreciated for possessing structural, spatial, and temporal organizations that rival that of eukaryotic cells.

Through an approach that couples advanced microscopy with classical genetics, biochemistry, and cell physiology, we aim at understanding how this complex organization is achieved and maintained in cells. Two different experimental approaches are used to accomplish this goal.

The first approach relies on the fractionation of cells to discover, isolate, and characterize novel sub-cellular complexes and organelles that form the elementary building blocks of bacterial cells, while the second approach uses live imaging techniques, electron tomography, and genetic studies to study the function and dynamics of these structures in the context of living cells.

For most of our work, we use the predatory soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus as model organism. M. xanthus is highly social and forms large multicellular swarms that cooperatively feed on organic matter, including other bacterial cells, which are digested through the secretion of lytic enzymes.

With a nearly 10 MB genome containing 7500 ORFs and a complex life-cycle that includes cellular differentiation, M. xanthus offers excellent opportunities to study bacterial cellular organization on a cellular level, and the contributions of the organelles to cellular differentiation processes and multicellular behaviours.

To complement these studies we occasionally use additional prokaryotic organisms, including cyanobacteria and archaea that help validate and expand our findings in myxobacteria.


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Teaching activities

Level 4 modules

  • MBB409 Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobials
  • MBB6403 MSC Research Projects

Level 3 modules

  • MBB328 The Organisation of Bacterial Cells
  • MBB361 Literature Review
  • MBB380 Laboratory Project

Level 2 modules

  • MBB263 Microbiology

Level 1 modules

  • MBB162 Genetics