Microbiology and microbial biochemistry Microbiology and microbial biochemistry

The Molecular Microbiology theme addresses fundamental aspects of microbiology and microbial biochemistry.

Microbes are the most successful organisms on Earth and they are the driving force in the evolution, development and success of multicellular organisms. Our research addresses big questions in microbiology from the effect of microbial communities on host fitness and reproduction to their roles in driving the global sulphur and nitrogen cycles. We are funded primarily by the BBSRC, NERC and MRC and we benefit through collaborations with our partner institutes on the Norwich Research Park under the auspices of Microbes in Norwich.
We welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students, postdocs and fellows. 


The Centre for Molecular and Structural Biochemistry (CMSB) is a multidisciplinary biomolecular research centre based in the Schools of Chemistry (CHE) and Biological Sciences (BIO) at UEA, which brings together scientists working at the interface between biology and chemistry in an environment that enables complementary expertises to be applied to important biological problems.

Academic staff

Theme leader: Dr Tom Clarke

Application of biophysical and spectroscopic techniques of protein-protein interactions.
The mechanism of electron transfer between redox active proteins.
Catalytic properties of metalloproteins involved in bacterial respiration


Dr Richard Bowater

Prokaryotic DNA repair pathways
Proteins that join breaks in nucleic acids
Genetic instability of DNA repeats


Professor Julea Butt (50:50 in BIO and CHE)

Biophysical characterisation of Redox Enzymes
Biogeochemical cycling of Fe, N and S
Microbial Strategies for Solar Fuel Production


Dr Andrew Gates

Biochemistry of the nitrogen cycle
Regulation and biochemistry of respiratory and assimilatory nitrate-utilisation
Electrocatalytic and spectroscopic investigation of metalloproteins associated with nitrate, nitrite and iron respiration


Dr Andrew Hemmings

X-ray structural and mechanistic studies of enzymes
Metal-protein recognition and the mechanisms of metal homeostasis in bacteria
Protein structure prediction, particularly of cofactor-rich proteins


Dr Matt Hutchings

Signal transduction pathways in the streptomycetes and mycobacteria
How bacteria sense and respond to cell envelope stress
Processing, structure and function of cell surface proteins


Professor Andrew Johnston 

Molecular genetics of iron uptake in Rhizobium
Iron-responsive gene regulation in α-proteobacteria
Metagenomics of the Nitrogen Cycle


Dr Gabriella Kelemen

Role of specific RNA polymerase holoenzymes controlling bacterial evelopment
Cytoskeletal proteins of Streptomyces coelicolor
Chromosome organisation during hyphal growth and sporulation


Dr Jacob Malone 

Cell and molecular microbiology
The molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial signal transduction
Bacterial colonization of the plant root environment

Professor David J Richardson

Biochemistry of the bacterial nitrogen cycle
Electron transfer at the microbe-mineral interface
Anaerobic metabolism of bacterial pathogens


Dr Gary Rowley

Integration of envelope stress responses and their function in Salmonella infection
Salmonella virulence gene regulation by nucleoid associated proteins
The role of nitric oxide and oxygen as signalling molecules during pathogenesis


Dr Jonathan Todd

The molecular genetics of metal transport in bacteria
The regulation, production and function of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) in marine eukaryotes
Microbial catabolism of DMSP generating the climatically influential gas dimethyl sulphide


Dr Nicholas Watmough 

The formation and consumption of nitric oxide (NO) in denitrifying bacteria
Oxidases and peroxidases in bacterial microaerobic metabolism
The application of time-resolved spectroscopies to the study of metalloproteins