Dr Rebecca Corrigan
Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow

Room: F22a
0114 222 4238


Career History

  • 2015 – present: Sir Henry Dale Research Fellow, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, UK
  • 2008 – 2014: Postdoctoral research associate, Imperial College London, UK
  • 2004 – 2008: PhD, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • 2000 – 2004: BA (Mod) Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Honours and Distinctions

  • Sir Henry Dale Research Fellowship
  • EMBO Short-term Fellowship

Research Keywords

Microbiology, S. aureus, nucleotide signalling, (p)ppGpp signalling


My research involves an in-depth characterisation of nucleotide signalling systems in the Gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is a human pathogen responsible for a vast array of disease and morbidity worldwide, a problem that is exacerbated by the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains such as methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA). When this bacterium invades a human host it encounters a number of different stresses, such as nutrient limitation. The bacteria respond to these stresses by switching on a nucleotide signalling system called the stringent response. This response results in the synthesis of two small nucleotides, collectively referred to as (p)ppGpp, which can be made in the cell by three different enzymes – RSH, RelP and RelQ. These nucleotides are the effectors of the stringent response and function by binding to target proteins leading to the bacterial cells shutting down active growth and entering a persistent state that promotes survival.


Figure 1: Synthesis and degradation of (p)ppGpp in S. aureus. In the Firmicutes the RelA/SpoT homologue RSH is responsible for (p)ppGpp synthesis (syn) and hydrolysis (HD) in response to amino acid deprivation. The genome also encodes for two additional monofunctional synthases, RelP and RelQ.

My previous research has led to the development of a genome-wide approach to analyse nucleotide-protein interactions. The current focus of the lab is on utilising this methodology, in conjunction with biochemical assays, to identify binding targets for (p)ppGpp in S. aureus in order to precisely map how these nucleotides function in a bacterial cell.


Figure 2: Flowchart outlining the steps involved in a genome-wide nucleotide-protein interaction screen.

By mapping of the (p)ppGpp signalling network this research will provide key insights into the functioning of (p)ppGpp and so generate important mechanistic data on the pathogenesis of S. aureus.


Level 3 Modules

Joining the Lab

If you are interested in joining my group you can contact me directly by email at

PhD studentships:

Funded PhD studentships will be advertised here as they become available but well qualified graduates, including those intending to self fund, should contact me directly to discuss possible projects.

Examples of potential projects could include the molecular characterisation of a nucleotide-protein interaction in vitro and the elucidation of the importance of this interaction for bacterial virulence in vivo.

You can apply for a PhD position in MBB here.

Postdoctoral fellowships:

Postdocs who wish to apply for a fellowship to join the group are more than welcome. Please contact me directly to discuss potential projects.

Project Students and Internships:

Students wishing to apply for summer internships are welcome and should send a CV describing their motivations and interests.


Journal articles