School of Life Sciences
  • Print
   
   
 

Image of Steve Atkinson

Steve Atkinson

Lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

Contact

Biography

Having completed my degree in biology I left science for several years and ran my own business. However my love for biology brought me back into science and after studying for an M.Sc in Molecular Genetics at The University of Leicester I went on to study for a PhD in Molecular Microbiology. Having worked in several post doctoral research positions I am now a lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Bacteriology here in Nottingham.

Expertise Summary

My technical expertise is based around molecular biology and includes gene cloning, site directed mutagenesis, transposon mutagenesis, cosmid and plasmid library construction, gene expression, PCR, RT PCR, DNA and protein sequencing and analysis, Southern and western blotting, protein purification, SDS-PAGE, tissue culture, TLC, HPLC, mass spectrometry, light and fluorescence microscopy including confocal, as well as TEM and SEM. I also have considerable experience analysing DNA and protein sequences using common software packages and I am very proficient in the use of the genome sequence and genome comparison tools, Artemis and ACT (Sanger centre).

Teaching Summary

Aside from my lecturing duties I am the program lead for the M.Sc in Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics and also module convenor for the Microbial Genetics and Genomics component to the course as… read more

Research Summary

For a number of years we have been examining the molecular mechanisms which underpin virulence in Y. pseudotuberculosis and during this time we have shown that many key virulence descriptors such as… read more

Recent Publications

Aside from my lecturing duties I am the program lead for the M.Sc in Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics and also module convenor for the Microbial Genetics and Genomics component to the course as well as module convener for the research projects for five molecular biology related MSc courses. I also supervise undergraduate and post graduate project students and act as personal tutor to undergraduate medical students and post graduate M.Sc students.

Current Research

For a number of years we have been examining the molecular mechanisms which underpin virulence in Y. pseudotuberculosis and during this time we have shown that many key virulence descriptors such as biofilm formation, motility, adhesion, and the presence of the virulence plasmid are regulated by cell-cell signaling mechanisms which are linked to the bacterial population density, a process usually referred to as quorum sensing. We have also revealed that genetically disrupting these virulence markers can reduce pathogenicity and in particular have focussed on Y. pseudotuberculosis infection of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans in an in vivo infection model for bacterial colonisation of eukaryotic tissues. The underlying complexity of these systems are exemplified by the fact that the two interdependent quorum sensing loci control signal production and a number of diverse but interconnected phenotypes. We now understand how several of these regulatory networks operate and have therefore extended the work into the related pathogen Yersinia enterocolitica.

We are now fully aware that by disrupting these signal mechanisms the virulence of both organisms can be attenuated or abolished. In the clinic, infections caused by pathogens which are resistance to multiple antibiotics are commonplace and therefore new non-antibiotic therapies to novel targets are required as a matter of urgency. Bacterial signaling systems therefore represent just such a target. We are now working on methods to disrupt bacterial signaling systems with a view to reducing virulence in these and other key bacterial pathogens.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

Contact us