Professor Julian Parkhill


Senior Group Leader


Bacterial Genomics

Research website:The Parkhill Group

The Sanger Institute
Wellcome Genome Campus
Hinxton, Cambridge
CB10 1SA, UK

FEMS Expert: Professor Julian Parkhill

Member of EAM, EMBO and The Royal Society

I gained my PhD in 1991 from the University of Bristol through work on bacterial transcriptional regulation. Since joining the Sanger Institute in 1997, I have been involved in the genomic analysis of a large number of bacteria from a wide diversity of genera, including Bordetella, Burkholderia, Campylobacter, Chlamydia, Clostridium, Corynebacterium, Escherichia, Haemophilus, Mycobacterium, Neisseria, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Yersinia and many others. This work began with the provision of reference genomes for key bacterial pathogens, initiating and enabling genome-wide approaches to understanding their biology. As genomics technologies improved, we moved to comparative genomics, beginning to understand the differences in biology and virulence between closely related pathogens, and with non-pathogenic relatives. The latest iterations of very high-throughput technologies allow us to analyse bacteria at the population level. We have used this to study global and local populations of bacteria, identifying the local origins and global routes of transmission of important multidrug resistant lineages of pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. We have investigated the emergence of resistance to antibiotics, and the response of populations to vaccine introduction on a local and global scale. We have worked with colleagues in public health services to implement this technology in clinical practice, identifying and tracking local outbreaks of nosocomial pathogens and predicting antibiotic resistance in patient isolates.