Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

Dr Chris Bayliss' projects

Research interests

Hypermutable DNA sequences enable bacterial pathogens and commensals to adapt to environmental fluctuations during colonisation and persistence in host organisms. A common mechanism involves mutations in tandem DNA repeat tracts (microsatellites).

The research of my group focuses on understanding the contributions of hypermutable DNA sequences to the generation of genetic diversity in two bacterial species – Neisseria meningitidis (the meningococcus) and Campylobacter jejuni. Tandem DNA repeat tracts are present in numerous genes in both species. Mutations in these repeats switch gene expression ‘on’ and ‘off’ in a process called phase variation.

Specific research areas (including for PhD projects)

  • Meningococcal haemoglobin receptors
  • Phase variation during meningococcal carriage
  • Determinants of phase variation rate in Campylobacter jejuni
  • Selection of phase variants in Campylobacter jejuni
  • Genomic analyses of repetitive DNA in C. jejuni and N. meningitidis
  • Computer modelling of phase variation in bacterial populations

Recent publications

C.D. Bayliss, J.C. Hoe, K. Makepeace, P. Martin, D.W. Hood and E.R. Moxon (2008). Escape by Neisseria meningitidis of the Bactericidal Activity of a Monoclonal Antibody is Mediated by Phase Variation of lgtG and Enhanced by a Mutator Phenotype. Infect. Immun. 76: 5038-5048.

C.D. Bayliss (2009). Determinants of phase variation rate and the fitness implications of differing rates for bacterial pathogens. FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 33: 504-520.


Dr Chris Bayliss
+44 (0)116 252 3465

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