Professor Jodi Lindsay is professor of microbial pathogenesis. Her research focuses on the bacterial pathogen staphylococcus aureus, a common cause of infection in humans and animals.
She is particularly interested in the genetics and evolution of strains that are increasingly virulent and resistant to antibiotics, including methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA). S aureus is a major cause of hospital-acquired infection, as well as a common cause of skin infection in the community and a pathogen of animals. It normally colonises 25 per cent of healthy humans.
While antibiotics have successfully been used to prevent and treat infections, bacteria are rapidly becoming resistant to the most effective antibiotics. New types of MRSA have emerged in hospitals, in healthy children and in livestock, and some are spreading worldwide.
Characterising the genomes of S aureus, and studying populations and their evolution, reveals the key factors required by successful clones to survive and cause infection in a range of different environments. This involves understanding how genomes vary, the triggers for variation, and studies of fitness, epidemiology and selective pressures in different settings. We can then predict how populations are evolving and pinpoint the best strategies for reducing infection incidence. For example, prescribing fluoroquinolone antibiotics in hospitals provides a selective advantage for hospital MRSA to colonise and then infect patients.
Professor Lindsay’s team also characterises host-specific interactions between host and S aureus populations during colonisation and infection of humans and animals. Staphylococci cause infections in livestock and in companion animals, and antibiotic resistant strains are increasing in incidence. These studies reveal key steps in host-pathogen interaction and lead to the identification of targets for better diagnostics and therapeutics.
Horizontal gene transfer of resistance and virulence genes drives bacterial evolution. This process is controlled in bacteria by specific restriction-modification enzymes that modify and manipulate DNA and support transfer between isolates. Understanding these processes generates new tools for research labs and allows better prediction and understanding of bacterial evolution, physiology and pathogenesis.
Professor Lindsay joined St George’s in November 1998 as a tenure-track lecturer, and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2005, reader in 2009, and professor in 2012.
She graduated with a BSc degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry from the University of Western Australia, followed by an Honours year in Microbiology (1st class). She was awarded her PhD from the same university in 1995 for investigating iron uptake mechanisms in staphylococci. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at the New York University Medical Center in the laboratory of Dr Richard Novick. Here she discovered the Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs), which are mobile genetic elements encoding virulence factors such as toxic shock syndrome toxin.
In 1996 Professor Lindsay moved to the University of Sheffield and Professor Simon Foster’s group as a postdoctoral research fellow. Here she worked on environmental triggers that control the regulation of expression of virulence genes in Staphylococcus aureus, as well as studying metal uptake mechanisms.
Professor Lindsay edited the first book on Staphylococcal Genetics in 2008. She was elected co-chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Staphylococcal Diseases in 2011. She is an editor of the journals Microbiology and BMC Infectious Diseases. She is also a member of the European Food Standards Safety committee on MRSA in Food, the PHE Staphylococcal advisory committee, the Steering Committee for UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations, and the BBSRC Basic Bioscience Underpinning Health Strategy Advisory Panel. She is Secretary of the ESCMID Study Group for Staphylococci (ESGS).
Honours and awards
Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Staphylococcal Diseases, 2011, with Fritz Goetz
Session chair for GRC, ISSSI, SGM
Invited speaker for GRC, ISSSI, SGM, ECCMID, ASM, NARSA, etc
Knight GM, Budd E, Whitney L, Thornley A, Al-Ghusein H, Planche T, Lindsay JA. (2012) Shift in dominant Hospital-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) clones over time. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 67:2514-22.
McCarthy AJ, Breathnach A, Lindsay JA. (2012) Detection of mobile genetic element (MGE) variation between colonising and infecting hospital-associated (HA)-MRSA isolates. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 50:1073-5.
McCarthy AJ, van Wamel W, Vandendriessche S, Larsen J, Denis O, Garcia-Graells C, Uhlemann A-C, Lowy FD, Skov R, Lindsay JA (2012) A Staphylococcus aureus CC398 clade associated with human-to-human transmission. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78: 8845-8848.
Krebes J, Al Ghusein H, Feasey N, Breathnach A, Lindsay JA. (2011) Are nasal carriers of Staphylococcus aureus more likely to become colonised or infected with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) on admission to hospital? Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 49: 430-432.
Harris S, Feil EJ, Holden MTG, Quail MA, Nickerson EK, Chntratita N, Gardete S, Tavares A, Day N, Lindsay JA, Edgeworth JD, de Lencastre H, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ, Bentley SD. (2010) Evolution of MRSA during hospital transmission and intercontinental spread. Science, 327: 469-474.
McCarthy AJ, Lindsay JA. (2010). Genetic variation in Staphylococcus aureus surface and immune evasion genes is lineage associated: implications for vaccine design and host-pathogen interactions. BMC Microbiology, 10:173.
Holden MTG, Feil EJ, Lindsay JA, Day NPJ, Enright MC, Foster TJ, Moore CE, Peacock SJ, Hurst L, Atkin R, Barron A, Bason N, Bentley SD, Chillingworth C, Chillingworth T, Churcher C, Clark L, Corton C, Cronin A, Doggett J, Dowd L, Feltwell T, Hance Z, Harris B, Hauser H, Holroyd S, Jagels K, James KD, Lennard N, Line A, Mayes R, Moule S, Mungall K, Ormond D, Quail MA, Rabbinowitsch E, Rutherford K, Sanders M, Sharp S, Simmonds M, Stevens K, Whitehead S, Barrell BG, Spratt BG, Parkhill J. (2004). Complete genomes of two clinical Staphylococcus aureus strains: evidence for the rapid evolution of virulence and drug resistance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 101: 9786-91.
Lindsay JA, Ruzin A, Ross H, Kurepina N, Novick RP (1998) The gene for toxic shock toxin is carried by a family of mobile pathogenicity islands in Staphylococcus aureus. Molecular Microbiology 29: 527-543.
Emma Budd – antibiotic resistance in S aureus.
Patrick Houston – restriction modification in S aureus.
Gwenan Knight – mathematical modelling of MRSA.
Jonathan Lambourne – patient susceptibility to colonisation and infection.
Alex McCarthy – S aureus genetics and host specificity.
Kinga Stanzak-Mrozek – S aureus genome instability and horizontal gene transfer.
Professor Philip Butcher and The Bacterial Microarray Group (BUGS) (St George's, University of London)
Department of Medical Microbiology, (St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Dr Debbie Baines, Professor Emma Baker (St George's, University of London)
Dr Rachel Allen (St George's, University of London)
Dr Nidhi Sofat (St George's, University of London)
Dr Kai Hilpert (St George's, University of London)
Dr David Dryden (University of Edinburgh).
Professor David Lloyd, Dr Anette Loeffler (The Royal Veterinary College)
Dr Matthew Holden (The Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre)
Professor Rob Seymour (CoMPLEX, UCL)
Professor Luca Guardabassi, Dr Arshnee Moodley (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
Dr Robert Skov (Statens Serum Institut, Denmark)
Dr Willem van Wamel (Erasmus Medical Centre, The Netherlands)
Professor Stefania Stefani (University of Catania, Italy)
Professor Frank Lowy, Dr Anne-Catrin Uhlemann (Columbia University Medical Centre, USA)
The Wellcome Trust
Medical Research Council
European Union FP7 project PILGRIM
St George's Hospital Charitable Foundation
Biomedical Science lectures in Bacterial Genetics, Diagnostics. Laboratory research projects.
MSc and PhD students.