Joanna Bacon

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Principle Scientist / Senior Project Team Leader

Public Health England, UK







Network Investigator


Research Keywords: 

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, fermentation, vaccine discovery, host-pathogen interaction, evaluation of antibiotics, antimicrobial resistance, genomics, gene expression



My team has built its reputation on collaborative research with academia and industry. Our research focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of the effects of growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis under host-like conditions in a variety of laboratory models [that include chemostats, biofilms, and non-replicating persistence] on bacterial physiology/biochemistry, gene expression, pathogenicity, drug susceptibility, the development of antibiotic resistance/tolerance and host-pathogen interactions.  Combined with molecular tools, these growth systems are being applied to a range of different translational interventions-based research projects to identify bacterial biomarkers, generate defined bacterial biomass for vaccine studies, and to understand how antimicrobial resistance arises. In addition to vaccine discovery, our current projects are focused on the development of bespoke drug evaluation assays and the in vitro evaluation and characterisation of novel compounds for the treatment of TB, through collaborations with medicinal chemists. 


Related Websites: 

Profile page at ResearchGate


Key Publications:

Mosaei H, Molodtsov V, Kepplinger B, Harbottle J, Moon CW, Jeeves RE, Ceccaroni L, Shin Y, Morton-Laing S, Marrs ECL, Wills C, Clegg W, Yuzenkova Y, Perry JD, Bacon J et al., Mode of Action of Kanglemycin A, an Ansamycin Natural Product that Is Active against Rifampicin-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis Mol Cell. 2018 Oct18;72(2):263-274. 

Ayabina D, Hendon-Dunn C, Bacon J, Colijn C. Diverse drug-resistant sub-populations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are sustained in continuous culture. J R Soc Interface. 2016 Nov;13(124) 

Pullan ST, Allnutt JC, Devine R, Hatch KA, Jeeves RE, Hendon-Dunn CL, Marsh PD, Bacon J. The effect of growth rate on pyrazinamide activity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis - insights for early bactericidal activity? BMC Infect Dis. 2016 May 17;16(1):205. 

Jeeves RE, Marriott AAN, Hatch KA, Allnutt JC, Hendon-Dunn CL, Watson R,Witney A, Tyler R, Arnold C, Marsh PD, McHugh TD, Bacon J. Slow growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis is resistant to isoniazid by an increased mutation rate and single nucleotide polymorphisms in katG. PLoS One. 2015 10(9) Sep 18;10(9):e0138253  

Hendon-Dunn C, Doris K, Allnutt J, Marriott A, Thomas S, Marsh PD, Taylor S, Bacon J. A flow cytometry method for rapidly assessing Mycobacterium tuberculosis responses to antibiotics with different modes of action. AAC. 2016 Jun 20;60(7):3869-83 

Bacon J, Alderwick LJ, Allnutt JA, Gabasova E, Watson R, Hatch KA, Clark SO, Jeeves RE, Marriott A, Rayner E, Tolley H, Pearson G, Hall G, Besra GS, Wernisch L, Williams A, Marsh PD. Non-replicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis elicits a reduced infectivity profile with corresponding modifications to the cell wall and extracellular matrix PLoS One. 2014 Feb 6;9(2):e87329 

Zhang Y, Hatch KA, Wernisch L, Bacon J. A Bayesian Change point model for differential gene expression patterns of the DosR regulon of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. BMC Genomics. 2008 Feb 22; 9:87. 

Golby P, Hatch KA, Bacon J, Cooney R, Riley P, Allnutt J, Hinds J, Nunez J, Marsh PD, Hewinson RG, Gordon SV. Comparative transcriptomics reveals key gene expression differences between the human and bovine pathogens of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Microbiology. 2007 Oct;153(Pt 10):3323-36. 

Bacon J, Dover LG, Hatch KA, Zhang Y, Gomes JM, Kendall S, Wernisch L, Stoker NG, Butcher PD, Besra GS, Marsh PD. Lipid composition and transcriptional response of Mycobacterium tuberculosis grown under iron-limitation in continuous culture: identification of a novel wax ester. Microbiology. 2007 May;153(Pt 5):1435-44. 

Vipond J, Vipond R, Allen-Vercoe E, Clark SO, Hatch GJ, Gooch KE, Bacon J, Hampshire T, Shuttleworth H, Minton NP, Blake K, Williams A, Marsh PD. Selection of novel TB vaccine candidates and their evaluation as DNA vaccines against aerosol challenge. Vaccine. 2006 Sep 11;24(37-39):6340-50.