Biography

I always had a keen interest in the interactions between human pathogenic bacteria and their (unfortunate) hosts. After studying Biology at the universities of Bonn and Marburg in Germany, I finished my undergraduate studies with a one year diploma thesis on the gut pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in the laboratory of Prof Werner Goebel at the University of Würzburg. I stayed on for my PhD thesis where I investigated how Listeria modulates the macrophage immune response with particular interest on antigen presentation. After completion of my PhD I went to the UK to study the interactions of Mycobacterium bovis BCG with human macrophages and investigate the characteristics of the Mycobacterium-containing phagosome. This work was performed in the group of Prof Douglas Young and financed by a Marie Curie Fellowship. The final part of the project was completed at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam where I was hosted in the lab of Prof Jacques Neefjes. In 2001, I returned to London (and the human gut) and took up work with Prof Alan Phillips at the Royal Free Medical School at UCL. As it turned out, this was the start of a long-lasting relationship with enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) and involved many productive collaborations with leading scientists in the area (Profs Gadi Frankel, Jim Kaper, Brendan Kenny, Jorge Giron). Particular areas of research included the application of in vitro organ culture of human intestinal biopsies to study EPEC- and EHEC-mediated signal transduction in intestinal epithelial cells and the subsequent innate immune response. A successful Wellcome Trust project grant also led to the development and application of a microaerobic in vitro human intestinal infection model which enabled me to study the influence of oxygen on bacterial virulence gene expression. In 2010, I moved to Norwich where I took up a lecturer position at the Norwich Medical School, UEA and became a Research Leader within in Gut Health & Food Safety Programme at the Institute of Food Research. In Nov 2011, I was awarded an MRC New Investigator Research Grant to study EHEC Shiga toxin translocation across the gut epithelium.

Career History

Lecturer, University of East Anglia, Oct 2010-present
Research Associate, University College London, 2001–2010
Research Associate, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, 1999-2001
Research Associate, Imperial College London, 1997-1999

Academic Background

PhD, University of Würzburg, Germany, 1997
Diplom, University of Marburg, Germany, 1994

All Publications

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Walsham, A., MacKenzie, D. A., Cook, V., Wemyss-Holden, S., Hews, C., Juge, N., Schuller, S.

(2016)

Lactobacillus reuteri Inhibition of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli Adherence to Human Intestinal Epithelium

in Frontiers in Microbiology

7.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Lewis, S., Prior, A., Ellis, S., Cook, V., Chan, S., Gelson, W., Schuller, S.

(2016)

Flagellin induces β-defensin 2 in human colonic ex vivo infection with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli

in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology

6.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Lewis, S., Cook, V., Tighe, R., Schuller, S.

(2015)

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli colonization of human colonic epithelium in vitro and ex vivo

in Infection and Immunity

83.

pp. 942-949

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Tran, S., Billoud, L., Lewis, S. B., Phillips, A. D., Schüller, S.

(2014)

Shiga toxin production and translocation during microaerobic human colonic infection with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 and O104:H4

in Cellular Microbiology

16.

pp. 1255–1266

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Fang, S., Schuller, S., Phillips, A. D.

(2013)

Human Intestinal In Vitro Organ Culture as a Model for Investigation of Bacteria-Host Interactions

in Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine

5.

pp. 43-50

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Schuller, S.

(2011)

Shiga Toxin Interaction with Human Intestinal Epithelium

in Toxins

3.

pp. 626-639

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Schuller, S., Phillips, A.

(2010)

Microaerobic conditions enhance type 111 secretion and adherence of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli to polarized human intestinal epithelial cells.

in Environmental Microbiology

12.

pp. 2426-2435

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Crepin, V. F., Girard, F., Schuller, S., Phillips, A. D., Mousnier, A., Frankel, G.

(2010)

Dissecting the role of the Tir:Nck and Tir:IRTKS/IRSp53 signalling pathwaysin vivo

in Molecular Microbiology

75.

pp. 308-323

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Saldana, Z., Erdem, A. L., Schuller, S., Okeke, I. N., Lucas, M., Sivananthan, A., Phillips, A. D., Kaper, J. B., Puente, J. L., Giron, J. A.

(2009)

The Escherichia coli Common Pilus and the Bundle-Forming Pilus Act in Concert during the Formation of Localized Adherence by Enteropathogenic E. coli

in Journal of Bacteriology

191.

pp. 3451-3461

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Schuller, S., Lucas, M., Kaper, J. B., Girón, J. A., Phillips, A. D.

(2009)

The ex vivo response of human intestinal mucosa to enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection

in Cellular Microbiology

11.

pp. 521-530

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Bai, L., Schuller, S., Whale, A., Mousnier, A., Marches, O., Wang, L., Ooka, T., Heuschkel, R., Torrente, F., Kaper, J., Gomes, T., Xu, J., Phillips, A.

(2008)

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli O125:H6 triggers attaching and effacing lesions on human intestinal biopsy specimens independently of Nck and TccP/TccP2.

in Infection and Immunity

76.

pp. 361-368

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Mousnier, A., Whale, A. D., Schuller, S., Leong, J. M., Phillips, A. D., Frankel, G.

(2008)

Cortactin Recruitment by Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 during Infection In Vitro and Ex Vivo

in Infection and Immunity

76.

pp. 4669-4676

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Zilbauer, M., Dorrell, N., Elmi, A., Lindley, K. J., Schuller, S., Jones, H. E., Klein, N. J., Núňez, G., Wren, B. W., Bajaj-Elliott, M.

(2007)

A major role for intestinal epithelial nucleotide oligomerization domain 1 (NOD1) in eliciting host bactericidal immune responses to Campylobacter jejuni

in Cellular Microbiology

9.

pp. 2404-2416

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Whale, A. D., Hernandes, R. T., Ooka, T., Beutin, L., Schuller, S., Garmendia, J., Crowther, L., Vieira, M. A. M., Ogura, Y., Krause, G., Phillips, A. D., Gomes, T. A. T., Hayashi, T., Frankel, G.

(2007)

TccP2-mediated subversion of actin dynamics by EPEC 2 - a distinct evolutionary lineage of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli

in Microbiology

153.

pp. 1743-1755

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Schuller, S., Chong, Y., Lewin, J., Kenny, B., Frankel, G., Phillips, A. D.

(2007)

Tir phosphorylation and Nck/N-WASP recruitment by enteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli during ex vivo colonization of human intestinal mucosa is different to cell culture models

in Cellular Microbiology

9.

pp. 1352-1364

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Mundy, R., Schuller, S., Girard, F., Fairbrother, J. M., Phillips, A. D., Frankel, G.

(2007)

Functional studies of intimin in vivo and ex vivo: implications for host specificity and tissue tropism

in Microbiology

153.

pp. 959-967

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Schuller, S., Heuschkel, R., Torrente, F., Kaper, J. B., Phillips, A. D.

(2007)

Shiga toxin binding in normal and inflamed human intestinal mucosa

in Microbes and Infection

9.

pp. 35-39

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Dean, P., Maresca, M., Schuller, S., Phillips, A., Kenny, B.

(2006)

Potent diarrheagenic mechanism mediated by the cooperative action of three enteropathogenic Escherichia coli-injected effector proteins

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

103.

pp. 1876-1881

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Marches, O., Wiles, S., Dziva, F., La Ragione, R. M., Schuller, S., Best, A., Phillips, A. D., Hartland, E. L., Woodward, M. J., Stevens, M. P., Frankel, G.

(2005)

Characterization of Two Non-Locus of Enterocyte Effacement-Encoded Type III-Translocated Effectors, NleC and NleD, in Attaching and Effacing Pathogens

in Infection and Immunity

73.

pp. 8411-8417

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Garmendia, J., Phillips, A. D., Carlier, M., Chong, Y., Schuller, S., Marches, O., Dahan, S., Oswald, E., Shaw, R. K., Knutton, S., Frankel, G.

(2004)

TccP is an enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 type III effector protein that couples Tir to the actin-cytoskeleton

in Cellular Microbiology

6.

pp. 1167-1183

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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Key Research Interests

E. coli bacteria are usually known as harmless commensals in the human gut. However, several subsets of E. coli have acquired genetic elements which make them pathogenic to humans. Research in our laboratory is focused on pathogenesis of enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) both of which are important foodborne pathogens. While EPEC is a major cause of infant diarrhoea in developing countries, EHEC is associated with bloody diarrhoea and severe kidney disease (Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome/HUS) in children in the developed world.


Both EPEC and EHEC share the ability to adhere to the human gut epithelium by forming characteristic attaching/effacing lesions. This is mediated by a type III secretion system which acts as a macromolecular syringe to inject bacterial effector proteins into the host cell. A multitude of effectors have been identified for EPEC and EHEC which interfere with a range of signal transduction pathways within the host cell and ultimately lead to the development of diarrhoea.

EHEC also release Shiga toxins (Stx) which are associated with HUS and highly cytotoxic to renal microvasculature. HUS is the leading cause of acute kidney failure in children and currently there is no treatment for this potentially fatal disease.

Research in our laboratory aims at understanding EPEC- and EHEC-mediated pathogenesis by using in vitro and ex vivo model systems that closely mimic the environment in the human gut. In collaboration with gastroenterologists at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, we are using in vitro organ culture of human intestinal biopsies to investigate bacterial colonisation and gene expression, host innate immune response to infection and the use of probiotics as treatment strategies. In addition, we have established a vertical diffusion chamber (VDC) system which enables us to perform infections under microaerobic conditions similar to those in the human gut. By using the VDC system we are aiming to understand the influence of oxygen on bacterial virulence gene expression and pathogenesis, the role of Stx in intestinal pathology and the mechanism of Stx translocation across the gut barrier.

Taken together, our research should lead to a better understanding of the early events during EPEC and EHEC pathogenesis and enable the design of more efficient treatment strategies.

Research Keywords

Enteropathogenic E. coli
Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli
Human intestine
Diarrhoea
Shiga toxin

Postgraduate Research Student Supervision

Foodborne pathogenic bacteria
Virulence gene expression
Innate immune response
Probiotics

External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

  • Member Society of General Microbiology (2004)
  • Member American Society of Microbiology (2007)
  • Contributor Science Photo Library (2004)
  • Contributor Wellcome Image Library (2004)

Administrative Posts

  • Personal Adviser to MBBS students
  • MBBS admission interviews