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Duncan Maskell

Bacterial and host factors affecting the outcome of an infectious disease

The Bacterial Infection Group (BIG) works on a number of different pathogens and covers many aspects of infection ranging from the nature of the bacteria themselves through to the mechanisms involved in the host recognising and resisting infection. The main bacteria worked on include Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter jejuni, bordetellae, veterinary streptococci (especially Streptococcus suis), Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus parasuis. We emphasise work leading to an understanding of the host-pathogen relationship, and use techniques ranging from functional genomics to mathematical modelling to try to understand the dynamics of the interactions of bacteria with their hosts. We work at all scales from the molecular to the whole animal, and use tissue-culture cells, in vitro organ culture and whole animal infection models. We are committed to maintaining strong basic research, but do this in the context of finding improved intervention strategies, be they reliant on better husbandry, small-molecule therapeutics, or immunotherapies including vaccination. Our work is as relevant to human infectious disease as it is to infectious diseases of other animals, and we strongly hold the view an approach based on comparative pathology, whereby a natural pathogen is studied in its natural host, is bound to be more productive and useful than studying a human pathogen in a non-natural rodent model.


Key Publications

Google Scholar - link to all publications

Genomic signatures of human and animal disease in the zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus suis. Weinert LA, Chaudhuri RR, Wang J, Peters SE, Corander J, Jombart T, Baig A, Howell KJ, Vehkala M, Välimäki N, Harris D, Chieu TT, Van Vinh Chau N, Campbell J, Schultsz C, Parkhill J, Bentley SD, Langford PR, Rycroft AN, Wren BW, Farrar J, Baker S, Hoa NT, Holden MT, Tucker AW, Maskell DJ Nat Commun. 2015 Mar 31;6:6740. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7740.

Capturing the cloud of diversity reveals complexity and heterogeneity of MRSA carriage, infection and transmission. Paterson GK, Harrison EM, Murray GG, Welch JJ, Warland JH, Holden MT, Morgan FJ, Ba X, Koop G, Harris SR, Maskell DJ, Peacock SJ, Herrtage ME, Parkhill J, Holmes MA. Nat Commun. 2015 Mar 27;6:6560. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7560.

Patterns of genome evolution that have accompanied host adaptation in Salmonella. Langridge GC, Fookes M, Connor TR, Feltwell T, Feasey N, Parsons BN, Seth-Smith HM, Barquist L, Stedman A, Humphrey T, Wigley P, Peters SE, Maskell DJ, Corander J, Chabalgoity JA, Barrow P, Parkhill J, Dougan G, Thomson NR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 20;112(3):863-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1416707112. Epub 2014 Dec 22.

Distinguishable epidemics of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in different hosts. Mather AE, Reid SW, Maskell DJ, Parkhill J, Fookes MC, Harris SR, Brown DJ, Coia JE, Mulvey MR, Gilmour MW, Petrovska L, de Pinna E, Kuroda M, Akiba M, Izumiya H, Connor TR, Suchard MA, Lemey P, Mellor DJ, Haydon DT, Thomson NR. Science. 2013 Sep 27;341(6153):1514-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1240578. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Comprehensive assignment of roles for Salmonella typhimurium genes in intestinal colonization of food-producing animals. Chaudhuri RR, Morgan E, Peters SE, Pleasance SJ, Hudson DL, Davies HM, Wang J, van Diemen PM, Buckley AM, Bowen AJ, Pullinger GD, Turner DJ, Langridge GC, Turner AK, Parkhill J, Charles IG, Maskell DJ, Stevens MP. PLoS Genet. 2013 Apr;9(4):e1003456. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003456. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

 

Professor Duncan Maskell

Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor

djm47@cam.ac.uk

    Plain English

    We study how bacteria cause disease. We use genome technologies to interrogate whole bacterial genomes to understand which genes and combinations of genes cause certain bacteria to infect and cause disease in certain hosts. We study bacteria in many different animal hosts including humans, pigs, cattle, and chickens. We are interested in zoonotic infections, especially food-borne zoonoses. We are increasingly studying antimicrobial resistance.

    Funding

    BBSRC

    MRC

     

    Duncan Maskell is available for consultancy