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Steve Atkinson

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

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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 an Assistant Professor in Molecular and Cellular Bacteriology here in Nottingham where my research focusses on understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms that underpin virulence in Yersinia spp, with particular emphasis on Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of bubonic, pneumonic and septiceamic plague.

Teaching Summary

Aside from my lecturing duties I am the program lead for the MSc Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics and also convenor for the Microbial Genetics and Genomics and Molecular Basis to Genetic Disorders… read more

Research Summary

My research focuses on the molecular genetic and chemical basis of bacterial virulence and global gene regulation in Yersinia spp. with a major focus on quorum sensing (QS), QS inhibition and… read more

Recent Publications

Aside from my lecturing duties I am the program lead for the MSc Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics and also convenor for the Microbial Genetics and Genomics and Molecular Basis to Genetic Disorders MSc modules as well as module convener for the Research Projects module for four molecular biology related MSc courses. I also convene the undergraduate Microorganism and Disease module and supervise undergraduate and post graduate project students and act as personal tutor to undergraduate medical students and post graduate MSc students.

Current Research

My research focuses on the molecular genetic and chemical basis of bacterial virulence and global gene regulation in Yersinia spp. with a major focus on quorum sensing (QS), QS inhibition and biofilms. I have focused on the human pathogenic species Y. pseudotuberculosis, Y. pestis and Y. enterocolitica. In particular this has included N-acylhomoserinelactone (AHL)-dependent quorum sensing, type three secretion (T3S), biofilms on biotic (Caenorhabditis elegans) and abiotic surfaces, motility, N-acetyl glucosamine metabolism (GlcNAc), and virulence plasmid partition. One key observation that has informed my recent work is that regulatory systems that are active at non-mammalian host temperatures share integrated links with the type 3 secretion system (T3SS). This has prompted further work on QS and biofilm formation mediated via Poly-b-1,6-GlcNAc (PNAG) and T3SS-mediated cell aggregation and has been the catalyst for work focussing on the Y. pestis environmental life cycle.

As part of the School of Life Science I am one of a group of microbiologists with wide ranging research interests located in the Biodiscovery Institute, a 3 phase £80 million research building complex specifically designed to promote multi-disciplinary research in molecular and cellular bacteriology, chemistry, structural and synthetic biology, tissue engineering and drug discovery. Our work is carried out in state-of-the-art bacterial pathogen containment labs with facilities for super-resolution, confocal and light microscopy, microfluidics, gene expression studies, robotic microplate readers, MS, NMR and an insectary for our Y. pestis entomological work. To our knowledge, we are the only non-governmental research group in the UK with a designated containment level 3 (CL3) laboratory approved for work with fully pathogenic Y. pestis.

School of Life Sciences

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

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