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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Professor Duncan Maskell

Professor Duncan Maskell

Host pathogen interactions; One Health; Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter jejuni, bordetellae, veterinary streptococci (especially Streptococcus suis), Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus parasuis

Research Interests

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 entericaCampylobacter 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

  • Mather AE, S.W.J. Reid, D.J Maskell, 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.(2013) Distinguishable epidemics of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in different hosts. Science 341: 1514-1517
  • Chaudhuri, R.R., E. Morgan, S.E. Peters, S.J. Pleasance, D.L. Hudson, H.M. Davies, J. Wang, P.M. van Diemen, A.M. Buckley, A.J. Bowen, G.D. Pullinger, D.J. Turner, G.C. Langridge, A.K. Turner, J. Parkhill, I.G. Charles, D.J. Maskell*, M.P. Stevens* (* joint senior authors) (2013). Comprehensive assignment of roles for Salmonella Typhimurium genes in intestinal colonization of food-producing animals. PLoS Genetics  9(4):e1003456.
  • Grant AJ, F.J. Morgan, T.J. McKinley, G.L. Foster, D.J. Maskell, P. Mastroeni (2012). Attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium Lacking the Pathogenicity Island-2 Type 3 Secretion System Grow to High Bacterial Numbers inside Phagocytes in Mice. PLoS Pathogens 8(12):e1003070. 
  • García-Álvarez L., Holden M.T., Lindsay H., Webb C.R., Brown D.F., Curran M.D., Walpole E., Brooks K., Pickard D.J., Teale C., Parkhill J., Bentley S.D., Edwards G.F., Girvan E.K., Kearns A.M., Pichon B., Hill R.L., Larsen A.R., Skov R.L., Peacock S.J., Maskell D.J., Holmes M.A. (2011)   Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus with a novel mecA homologue in human and bovine populations in the UK and Denmark: a descriptive study. Lancet Infectious Diseases. 11: 595-603.
  • Langridge, G. C., M. D. Phan, D. J. Turner, T. T. Perkins, L. Parts, J. Haase, I. Charles, D. J. Maskell, S. E. Peters, G. Dougan, J. Wain, J. Parkhill and A. K. Turner (2009). "Simultaneous assay of every Salmonella Typhi gene using one million transposon mutants." Genome Res 19(12): 2308-16. [PubMed]
  • Chaudhuri, R. R., S. E. Peters, S. J. Pleasance, H. Northen, C. Willers, G. K. Paterson, D. B. Cone, A. G. Allen, P. J. Owen, G. Shalom, D. J. Stekel, I. G. Charles and D. J. Maskell (2009). "Comprehensive identification of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium genes required for infection of BALB/c mice." PLoS Pathog 5(7): e1000529. [PubMed]
  • Chaudhuri, R. R., A. G. Allen, P. J. Owen, G. Shalom, K. Stone, M. Harrison, T. A. Burgis, M. Lockyer, J. Garcia-Lara, S. J. Foster, S. J. Pleasance, S. E. Peters, D. J. Maskell and I. G. Charles (2009). "Comprehensive identification of essential Staphylococcus aureus genes using Transposon-Mediated Differential Hybridisation (TMDH)." BMC Genomics 10: 291. [PubMed]
  • Holt, K.E., Parkhill, J., Mazzoni, C.J., Roumagnac, P., Weill F.-X., Goodhead Rance, R., Baker, S., Maskell, D.J., Wain, J., Dolecek, C., Achtman, M. and Dougan, G. (2008) High-throughput sequencing provides insights into genome variation and evolution inSalmonellaTyphi. Nature Genetics. 40: 987-993. [PubMed]