Host Pathogen Interactions

Host Pathogen-Interactions and Antimicrobial Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a global problem which affects everyone, threatening our ability to treat common infections at an unprecedented rate. It is the responsibility of government, industry and academia to work together to minimise the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance. The world health organisation (WHO) aptly sums up this clear and present danger:

"As an academic community, we can help to combat this global challenge by gaining an in-depth understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind these pathogens. Understanding how pathogens cause infections, persist in the host, evade the immune system and transmit back to the environment will eventually culminate in new interventions which will reduce or surpass the need for traditional antibiotics. Without urgent, coordinated action, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill."

Sheffield has attracted a host of top-notch young scientists who have succeeded in winning prestigious fellowships from the Royal Society, Lister Institute and Wellcome Trust. Our success revolves around world-class facilities and interdisciplinary research activities within and outside Sheffield, such as Florey, Imagine and the Bateson centre.

Recent Research Highlights

Some of the big stories in this research area recently published by our staff

AFM bacteriaThe architecture of the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall

  • Pasquina-Lemonche L, Burns J, Turner RD, Kumar S, Tank R, Mullin N, Wilson JS, Chakrabarti B, Bullough PAB, Foster SJ, & Hobbs JK (2020) The architecture of the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall. Nature. 

Toxin kills MRSAScientists discover how potent bacterial toxin kills MRSA bacteria

  • Gonzalez-Delgado LS, Walters-Morgan H, Salamaga B, Robertson AJ, Hounslow AM, Jagielska E, Sabała I, Williamson MP, Lovering AL & Mesnage S (2019) Two-site recognition of Staphylococcus aureus peptidoglycan by lysostaphin SH3b. Nature Chemical Biology 16, 24-30. 

Thumbnail image for Bob Turner StorySheffield scientists ‘see the chemistry’ of bacterial cell walls to aid new antibiotic insights

  • Turner RD, Mesnage S, Hobbs JK & Foster SJ (2018) Molecular imaging of glycan chains couples cell-wall polysaccharide architecture to bacterial cell morphology. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1263.

MRSA thumbCrowdsourcing friendly bacteria helps superbug cause infection

  • Boldock E, Surewaard BGJ, Shamarina D, Na M, Fei Y, Ali A, Williams A, Pollitt EJG, Szkuta P, Morris P , Prajsnar TK et al (2018) Human skin commensals augment Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis. Nature Microbiology, 3(8), 881-890.

Opportunities for study in this research area

Postgraduate Masters Course (MSc) in Antimicrobial Resistance

Our one-year MSc course in Antimicrobial Resistance is designed to meet the growing demand for skilled, multi-disciplinary bioscientists to take on roles in academia, industry and healthcare.

Click here for more information


For further information and research opportunities, please see the staff page of individual researchers below:

Simon FosterProfessor Simon Foster

  • Bacterial cell wall structure, function and dynamics
  • Stress resistance and pathogenesis multi-antibiotic resistant Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus

T: 0114 222 4411

David KellyProfessor Dave Kelly

  • Molecular physiology and pathogenicity of the food-borne human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni
  • Transport and metabolic pathways in the versatile phototrophic purple bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris.

T: 0114 222 4414

Rob FaganDr Robert Fagan

  • S-layer and host interaction of Clostridium difficile: a spore-forming, anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium which causes severe disease in patients following antibiotic treatment for unrelated infections.

T: 0114 222 4182

mesnagesDr Stephane Mesnage

  • Bacterial cell wall organisation of the Gram-positive pathogens Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus, including cell-surface interactions and peptidoglycan layer dynamics.

T: 0114 222 4405

Andrew FentonDr Andrew Fenton

  • Cell envelope biosynthetic processes and host-cell interactions of the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. 

T: 0114 222 2832

Rebecca CorriganDr Rebecca Corrigan

  • Nucleotide signalling systems in the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, with a particular interest in mapping the (p)ppGpp signalling networks.

T: 0114 222 4238

CTurnerDr Clare Turner

  • Mechanisms behind upsurges in disease caused by the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes (also known as group A Streptococcus)

T: 0114 222 2819

chaudhurirDr Roy Chaudhuri

  • Functional and comparative genomics of bacteria, particularly E. coli and Salmonella. Development of methods for analysing data derived from transposon mutagenesis screens such as TraDIS.

T: 0114 222 2837

Egbert HoiczykDr Egbert Hoizcyk

  • Using light and electron microscopy to study the structure and function of bacterial ultra-structure. Particular interest in bacterial cytoskeletons, gliding motility complexes and nano-organelles

T: 0114 222 2733

Research Institutes

Our Research on Host-pathogen Interactions and antimicrobial resistance is supported by and feeds into the following University Research Institutes.



Bateson Centre

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