Dr Graham P Stafford

BSc(hons)- Sheffield, PhD (Warwick)

Reader in Microbiology

Lead of the Integrated Biosciences group

Academic lead for Molecular Biology and Microbiology facilities

Contact Details:

School of Clinical Dentistry
Claremont Crescent
S10 2TA

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 2159413



I joined the Dental School in Sheffield in summer 2007, returning after an absence from Sheffield of nearly 10 years to take up a lecturership in microbiology. My BSc (1st class, honors) was gained from Sheffield in Microbiology and Biochemistry. After which, I gained a PhD at the University of Warwick investigating the molecular mechanisms of methane oxidation in environmental bacteria. In 2002 I joined the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge investigating various aspects of flagellar biogenesis in enteric bacteria. This allowed me to develop an interest in protein secretion and the molecular pathogenesis of disease causing bacteria.


My main interests lie in the molecular level understanding of microbes, microbial disease processes and exploitation of this knowledge for improvement of health or commercial translation. The main areas include research on periodontal pathogens, host-pathogen interactions, synthetic biology and microbial glycobiology with a focus on sialic acid.
I teach Medical and Oral Microbiology in the Dental School at undergraduate and postgraduate level and also supervise a range of research projects at all levels.


The Group takes a multidisciplinary approach to investigating a range of biological problems ranging from basic biology to prototype translational projects. There are several areas of research within the group which centres around the study of bacteria with an overall aim at understanding microbial disease processes and exploiting the knowledge we generate for translational purposes wherever possible.

Periodontal pathogens: We focus on Gram-negative anaerobic species, mainly Tannerella forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis that are involved in the common disease periodontitis, estimated to affect 700 million people worldwide. However, most of the processes that we study in these bacteria are relevant to a range of human pathogenic bacteria with wide-ranging microbiological implications. For example, we have focused on the role of glycans at the host-pathogen interface revealing novel aspects of pathogen biology that has generated novel antimicrobials lead. This work involves molecular, biochemical and structural biology of bacterial enzymes, some of which have novel properties that have begun commercialisation.

Synthetic Biology: Our other main focus is in the developing area of Synthetic Biology where we are working to exploit biotechnological possibilities utilising biological knowledge of bacteria with a particular focus on protein secretion systems.

The group works in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) and with commercial partners when appropriate and currently have fruitful links with Ludger Ltd, GSK, Blueberry Therapeutics, Phytoquest and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

Please browse my research group pages for more information-

stafford research

Research Team

Marianne Satur- BBSRC iCASE PhD with Ludger- engineering sialidases for biotech

Mohammed Al-Zubidi- Iraqi funded PhD student- orally targeted bacteriophage

Nitin Kamble- Indian funded PhD student- modification of secretion systems in bacteria

Sophie Hutchinson- Joint supervision with Tom Smith (based at SHU)- antimicrobial plant extracts

Ashley Gains- MSci (SHU) Joint supervision with Prachi Stafford (SHU)- molecular tools for oral anaerobic bacteria

Andy Frey- BBSRC iCASE with GSK- sialidases- currently PDRA on an MRC P2D fellowship

Elizabeth Court- PDRA on CBMNet BiV project


DEN 103 The Human Body

DEN 104 The Oral Cavity in Health and Disease

DEN 204 Basic Oral and Dental Care

DEN 303/4 Integrated Human Diseases

ORP 609 Laboratory Research Methods

ORP 6021 Research project (Oral Pathology MSc)

MSc in Dental materials (research projects)

DClinDent in periodontology (research projects)

Professional Activities
  • 1998- present Member of the SGM (Society for General Microbiology)

  • 2009- present Member of ASM (American Society for Microbiology)

  • 2012- present Member of International Association for Dental Research (IADR)

  • 2008- present Member of Oral Microbiology and Immunology Group (OMIG)

  • 2014 Lead Sheffield 2014 iGEM team to Gold medal in international competition

  • 2015- present Serving committee member for OMIG

  • 2015- present Member of Biochemical Society

  • 2017- present Pool reviewer for BBSRC Panels

  • 2017- present Editorial Board Molecular and Oral Microbiology Journal

Expert reviewer for:

  • Journals- Microbiology, PNAS, Infection and Immunity, Journal of Bacteriology, Molecular Microbiology, Applied and Environmental microbiology, FEMS letters, Biochemical Journal, Anaerobe. Journal of Periodontology, Biomedical Research International, Molecular Oral Microbiology

  • Grant bodies- MRC, BBSRC, Leverhulme, Austrian science foundation


Postdoc funding: Enquiries are also invited from talented postdoctoral researchers interested in schemes such as the Marie Curie Incoming fellowships, Human Frontiers Scientific Programme or Newton Fellowships are welcome at all times.- Please email Dr Stafford:

PhD Project examples: Enquiries from talented and committed prospective PhD students are welcome in all areas of our research portfolio. In all cases for further information contact Dr Graham Stafford for details. Please also fill out a PhD Enquiry form for the Department which can be found here, we welcome enquiries from funded overseas applicants warmly.


Twitter: @GrahamPStafford