SEP 2023 NEW ARTICLE FOR ABBIE AND SAM
Abbie Kelly and Sam Went are joint first authors on a study out in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. This is a detailed analysis of the first batch from our "Durham Collection" of coliphages, which we have been building up through subsequent years working with our undergraduate Workshop cohorts. We've found a new genus of bacteriophage and tested this first cohort against three different BREX systems. It appears that BREX responds very differently on a phage-by-phage basis, independently of the number of sites, indicating there's plenty more still to explore and understand!
AUG 2023 NEW ARTICLE FOR BEN AND TOM
Our latest work is out on the MenAT toxin-antitoxin systems, published in Nature Communications. This is a continuation of a very enjoyable collaboration with Pierre Genevaux and Olivier Neyrolles (Toulouse). Congratulations to joint first authors Xibing Xu and Ben Usher, and also Tom Arrowsmith for vital contributions.
JUL 2023 NEW ARTICLE FOR TIM
A new study into human topoisomerase sequence diversity, led by Afif Bandak in the Berger lab, has been published in PNAS. It was great to continue working with Prof James Berger (Johns Hopkins University), alongside teams from Prof John Nitiss (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Prof Albert Lau (Johns Hopkins University).
JUN 2023 NEW ARTICLE WITH DR GIUSY MARIANO
It was a pleasure to work with Giusy and her team on the discovery and characterisation of a new phage defence system in Pseudomonas, called Shield. Now published in PLoS Genetics.
MAR 2023 NEW REVIEW ARTICLE
Congratulations to Abbie Kelly, Tom Arrowsmith and Sam Went who put together a comprehensive review of toxin-antitoxin systems and how they relate to abortive infection and phage defence, available in Current Opinion in Microbiology.
FEB 2023 IZAAK BECK PASSES VIVA
Huge congratulations to the new Dr Izaak Beck! Thank you to Dr Liz Morris and Dr Peter Chivers (Durham University) and Prof Jonathan Heddle (Jagiellonian University) for being the Examiners.
FEB 2023 NEW PERSPECTIVES ARTICLE WITH DR GIUSY MARIANO
Dr Giusy Mariano (Newcastle University) put together a fantastic perspectives article on the use of conserved domains throughout diverse phage defence systems, now published in Molecular Microbiology.
DEC 2022 BECKY BENNETT PASSES VIVA
Many congratulations to Dr Becky Bennett who has successfully passed her viva. Becky was a PhD student with Prof Kate Baker (Liverpool University), co-supervised in the Blower lab.
NOV 2022 SEMINAR TOUR
Tim has been on a seminar tour. It was great getting out and making new links. Thank you to the wonderful hosts; Dr Vasili Hauryliuk and Prof Tanel Tenson (University of Tartu, Estonia), Dr Prerna Vohra (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Chris Stewart (Newcastle University).
OCT 2022 ELISE LING PASSES VIVA
Many congratulations to Dr Elise Ling who passed her viva with flying colours. Elise was a PhD student with Prof Caroline Austin (Newcastle University), co-supervised in the Blower lab.
OCT 2022 BEN USHER WINS THESIS PRIZE
Many congratulations to Dr Ben Usher who has won the annual thesis prize from Durham University's Biophysical Sciences Institute!
OCT 2022 NEW PHD STUDENT JOINS THE LAB
Welcome to Jenny Readshaw who is joining the lab as an NLD DTP CASE student, in collaboration with New England Biolabs.
SEP 2022 VISITING POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW
We are delighted to welcome Dr Liam Shaw, a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, joining us on an extended visit from his host institution of University of Oxford. Liam will no doubt be schooling us on the power of bioinformatics!
SEP 2022 NEW COLLABORATIVE ARTICLE
We have had a new article published in collaboration with Prof Martin Cann (with whom we share lab space!). It came out in Nature Communications and looks at the impact of carbon dioxide on light harvesting complexes in cyanobacteria.
JUL 2022 TIM PROMOTED TO FULL PROFESSOR
Tim was made Full Professor in the latest round of promotions at Durham Biosciences. Thank you to all lab members, collaborators, and wonderful mentors, whose hard work made this possible!
JUN 2022 NEW ARTICLE FROM IZAAK BECK AND DAVID PICTON
This was a fun surprise - Izaak and Dave had a secret side project where they solved the first reported structure of a BREX phage defence protein, BrxA. The article is now published in Current Research in Structural Biology
JUN 2022 NEW ARTICLE FROM ELISE LING
Congratulations to Elise on her new paper. Elise is a co-supervised student in Prof Caroline Austin's lab (Newcastle University). Elise has solved the structure of the human type IIbeta topoisomerase ATPase domain, bound to co-factors and drugs. The article is available in Structure.
MAY 2022 NEW ARTICLE FROM DAVID PICTON
Congratulations to Dr David Picton, and also Sam Duffner and Sam Went in the lab, for their new study that has discovered a widespread regulator family, BrxR. This has been published in Nucleic Acids Research. BrxR homologues co-localise with a vast array of diverse phage defence islands, indicating a common route to control phage defence. This was done in collaboration with lab alumnus Josh Harling-Lee, plus Dr Rick Morgan (NEB) and Prof Jay Hinton (Liverpool).
MAR 2022 BEN USHER BECOMES DR USHER
Congratulations to Ben for passing his viva! Thanks to Prof Chris Tang (University of Oxford) and Dr Karrera Djoko (Durham) for being the Examiners.
FEB 2022 WELCOME TO OUR VISITING STUDENTS
Julia Gordeeva and Alena Drobiazko, both PhD students with Prof Konstantin Severinov, at Skoltech, Moscow, Russia, have joined us for two months on a Royal Society International Exchange. They'll be investigating BREX mechanisms whilst here. Welcome!
JAN 2022 PRIZE FOR DAVID PICTON
Dave has won "Best Publication" prize at the Department of Biosciences Research Away Day, for his 2021 paper in Nucleic Acids Research. Congrats Dave!
NOV 2021 NEW CASE PHD STUDENTSHIP AVAILABLE
There is a 4-year CASE PhD studentship available in the Blower lab, examining the biochemistry and structural biology of BrxU, our favourite DNA-modification dependent nuclease involved in phage defence. Details here: http://tinyurl.com/sd64e5wh. The project will be co-supervised by Prof Jay Hinton (University of Liverpool) and Drs Peter Weigele and Rick Morgan at New England Biolabs. If you'd like experience in both an academic and industrial setting - this project is for you! The project is through the BBSRC NLD DTP. Please email Tim with your CV for more info. All applications go direct to the DTP, more info here: https://www.nld-dtp.org.uk/how-apply.
OCT 2021 NEW ARTICLE FROM DAVID PICTON
Our new study into a phage defence island containing complementary BREX and type IV restriction systems has been published in Nucleic Acids Research. This work contains the first structural information on the GmrSD-family of type IV DNA-modification dependent restriction enzymes, for our favourite homologue, BrxU. Dr David Picton led the study, in collaboration with Prof Jay Hinton (Liverpool), Dr Rick Morgan (NEB), Prof Darren Smith (Northumbria) and Dr David Dryden (Durham). Huge congratulations to Dave and thank you to everyone involved!
OCT 2021 WELCOME TO NEW STARTERS IN THE LAB
The new academic year has begun and there are lots of new faces in the lab. Tom Arrowsmith joins us as a MoSMED CDT PhD student, Sam Duffner starts his postgraduate MSc by Research, and Andras Dervenkar joins as a 4th Year Natural Sciences undergraduate. Welcome to all!
JUN 2021 NEW ARTICLE FOR BEN USHER AND IZAAK BECK
Congratulations to Ben Usher, lead author on our new publication in Journal of Structural Biology. Ben solved the structure of the anti-CRISPR repressor Aca2, used by phages to modulate their counter-resistance to the host CRISPR defence. This was done in collaboration with the Fineran lab at the University of Otago and supported in our lab by Izaak (@IzaakBeck).
MAY 2021 DAVID PICTON LEVELS UP TO DR PICTON
Huge congratulations to Dave who passed his PhD viva and successfully became Dr Picton. First PhD student through the lab! So proud!! Thank you to Profs Mark Szczelkun and Martin Cann for running the viva.
MAY 2021 IZAAK BECK WINS PRESENTATION PRIZE
Congratulations to Izaak (@izaakbeck) who has won a prize for his presentation on Mycobacterium tuberculosis gyrase at this year's Departmental Postgraduate Conference. There were loads of great talks, so credit all round to our PG cohort for keeping standards high during difficult conditions.
MAR 2021 NEW ARTICLE FOR DAVID PICTON
Led by our collaborators Dr Blanca Perez-Sepulveda and Prof Jay Hinton over at Liverpool University, we have published a new article on the characterisation of Salmonella phage isolates from Malawi. David Picton generated mutants of phage-resistance systems to aid isolation and trained up Liverpool lab members. Congrats to the whole team.
FEB 2021 NEW ARTICLE FOR BEN USHER IN THE SCIENCE BREAKER
Ben Usher and Yiming Cai have had their recent publication featured on The Science Breaker, a free-to-publish platform that promotes science communication for the lay audience. Congrats to Ben and Yiming! You can find the article here.
FEB 2021 FUNDED PHD STUDENTSHIP AVAILABLE
We have a fully funded PhD studentship available through the EPSRC MoSMED CDT. This 4-year project will continue our work on toxin-antitoxin systems of M. tuberculosis, using microbiology, structural biology, and structure-based drug design. The project is co-supervised by Dr Agnieszka Bronowska and Dr Danny Cole at Newcastle University. Full details available on findaphd.
DEC 2020 JOINT PHD PROJECT AVAILABLE WITH PROF TRACY PALMER
A new BBSRC NLD-DTP PhD studentship is available looking at secreted toxins of S. aureus. Led by Prof Tracy Palmer FRS @proftracypalmer (Newcastle University), with Tim as secondary supervisor. More info here on findaphd.
NOV 2020 WELCOME TO OUR NEW PROJECT STUDENTS
Dan Sin and Ben Baker have joined the lab as undergraduate project students to learn more about toxin-antitoxin systems and HDACs. All online for now - lots of Xtal data to process. Welcome!
SEP 2020 TIM GIVES KEYNOTE TALK AT CAMBRIDGE PHD SYMPOSIUM
It was an honour to be invited to give the Keynote talk at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge's 3rd Year PhD Symposium. The talk covered some research highlights and tried to dish out some career advice to the upcoming generation of fantastic scientists, either in academia or other career paths. It was fun to be back at my home Department!
SEP 2020 NEW PHD STUDENTSHIP AVAILABLE IN THE LAB STARTING JAN 2021
We have a new PhD project available through the BBSRC NLD DTP, in collaboration with New England Biolabs, to study phage-resistance mechanisms. Please contact Tim if you are interested, and more information is available on findaphd.
JUL 2020 TIM INTERVIEWED ON THE BBC
Following our new publication in Science Advances, Tim was invited to discuss the work on the BBC World Service's flagship news programme, "Newshour". You can listen to the clip here, starting at 14 min.
JUL 2020 NEW PAPER FROM BEN USHER
Congratulations to Ben Usher, co-first author on a new article published in Science Advances that has characterised the MenT family of toxins, which block growth of tuberculosis through a previously unreported mechanism. This collaborative paper involving five labs across the UK, France and New Zealand, was led by co-senior authors Tim and Dr Pierre Genevaux of the Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires, Toulouse University.
JUL 2020 IZAAK WINS TOP POSTER PRIZE
Congratulations to @izaakbeck for winning the top poster prize at the Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Conference 2020 #nld_dtp20
JUL 2020 LAB RE-OPENING
The lab re-opened at the start of July. Great to be back in the lab, albeit appropriately distanced and at reduced capacity, and finally able to do experiments again!
JUN 2020 NEW PAPER FROM IZAAK BECK
Congratulations to @izaakbeck, lead author on a new article published in Biochemical Journal that compares the structure and function of the AbiEi and Rv2827c antitoxins. This work was co-authored by Ben Usher and done in collaboration with the Fineran Lab at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
JUN 2020 NEW BLOWER LAB WEBSITE LAUNCHED
Welcome to our brand new website, we hope you find it helpful and informative