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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge
Bacterial evolution
Antibiotic resistance


Some of our most serious pandemics are caused by pathogens switching and establishing in a new host species so understanding the epidemiological factors for switching success is essential for curbing pathogen spread. The capacity for some pathogens to jump into new host-species populations leading to the emergence of pathogenic clones is a major threat to public health and food security.

Bacterial clonal replacement is a process whereby a fitter clone emerges and replaces the previously dominant one, often leading to more virulent or antibiotic-resistant infections. Despite the significant impact that bacterial clonal replacement has on public health, the underlying process is still not fully understood. I study this in Staphylococcus aureus, which is a significant pathogen responsible for a range of diseases and exhibits frequent emergence of new clones. Some of these, such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA, pose a major public health concern.


Key publications: 

Matuszewska, M., Dabrowska, A., Murray, G. G. R., Kett, S. M., Vick, A. J. A., Banister, S. C., Pantoja Munoz, L., Cunningham, P., Welch, J. J., Holmes, M. A., & Weinert, L. A. (2023). Absence of Staphylococcus aureus in Wild Populations of Fish Supports a Spillover Hypothesis. Microbiology Spectrum.

Walsh, S. K., Imrie, R. M., Matuszewska, M., Paterson, G. K., Weinert, L. A., Hadfield, J. D., Buckling, A., & Longdon, B. (2023). The host phylogeny determines viral infectivity and replication across Staphylococcus host species. PLOS Pathogens, 19(6), e1011433.

Matuszewska, M., Murray, G. G. R., Ba, X., Wood, R., Holmes, M. A., & Weinert, L. A. (2022). Stable antibiotic resistance and rapid human adaptation in livestock-associated MRSA. ELife, 11.

Matuszewska, M., Murray, G. G. R., Harrison, E. M., Holmes, M. A., & Weinert, L. A. (2020). The Evolutionary Genomics of Host Specificity in Staphylococcus aureus. Trends in Microbiology, 28(6), 465–477.

Other publications: 

Bonn, C. M., Rafiqullah, I. M., Crawford, J. A., Qian, Y. M., Guthrie, J. L., Matuszewska, M., Robinson, D. A., & McGavin, M. J. (2023). Repeated Emergence of Variant TetR Family Regulator, FarR, and Increased Resistance to Antimicrobial Unsaturated Fatty Acid among Clonal Complex 5 Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Zou, G., Matuszewska, M., Bai, F., Wang, S., Wang, S., Li, H., Ke, Y., Tang, C., Li, J., Tang, J., & Zhou, R. (2022). Genomic analyses of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from yaks in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, China. The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 77(4), 910–920.

Zou, G., Matuszewska, M., Jia, M., Zhou, J., Ba, X., Duan, J., Zhang, C., Zhao, J., Tao, M., Fan, J., Zhang, X., Jin, W., Cui, T., Zeng, X., Jia, M., Qian, X., Huang, C., Zhuo, W., Yao, Z., … Zhou, R. (2022). A Survey of Chinese Pig Farms and Human Healthcare Isolates Reveals Separate Human and Animal Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Populations. Advanced Science (Weinheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany), 9(4).

Murray, G. G. R., Balmer, A. J., Herbert, J., Hadijirin, N. F., Kemp, C. L., Matuszewska, M., Bruchmann, S., Mukarram Hossain, A. S. M., Gottschalk, M., Tucker, A. W., Miller, E., & Weinert, L. A. (2021). Mutation rate dynamics reflect ecological change in an emerging zoonotic pathogen. PLOS Genetics, 17(11), e1009864.

Zarkan, A., Matuszewska, M., Trigg, S. B., Zhang, M., Belgami, D., Croft, C., Liu, J., El-Ouisi, S., Greenhalgh, J., Duboff, J. S., Rahman, T., & Summers, D. K. (2020). Inhibition of indole production increases the activity of quinolone antibiotics against E. coli persisters. Scientific Reports, 10(1).

Zarkan, A., Liu, J., Matuszewska, M., Gaimster, H., & Summers, D. K. (2020). Local and Universal Action: The Paradoxes of Indole Signalling in Bacteria. Trends in Microbiology, 28(7), 566–577.

Marvasi, M., Durie, I. A., Henríquez, T., Satkute, A., Matuszewska, M., & Prado, R. C. (2016). Dispersal of human and plant pathogens biofilms via nitric oxide donors at 4 °C. AMB Express, 6(1), 1–9.