Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology

Staff Profile

Dr Anjam Khan

Senior Lecturer


Roles and Responsibilities

Principle Investigator

Director, Faculty of Medical Sciences Microbiology Containment Level 3 Research Suites

Chair, ICaMB Microbiological Hazards and Genetic Modification Safety Advisory Committee

Member, ICaMB Safety Committee 

Advisor, University Microbiological Hazards and Genetic Modification Safety Advisory Committee



PhD in Molecular Biology, with Professor John Scaife FRSE, University of Edinburgh.

BSc Hons in Biochemistry, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.


Previous Positions

University of Cambridge, Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Lecturer in Microbiology, University of Newcastle.


Research Interests

Our major research objectives are to understand the biology of Salmonella and gain insights into the mechanisms by which it causes disease. We are using a mutidisciplinary approach with an international team of collaborators to fulfill these objectives.

Quorum Sensing and Host-Pathogen Communication

Research on quorum sensing has provided vivid insights into the mechanisms by which bacteria coordinate their efforts and behave in a “multicellular” fashion. We are investigating how Salmonella use small signal molecules called autoinducers to communicate with each other, and aim at identifying the genes and physiological processes regulated by quorum sensing. Strikingly, we have evidence revealing inter-kingdom crosstalk between pathogens and their hosts. Thus enabling Salmonella to “eavesdrop” on host communication systems by sensing neuroendocrine stress hormones and using these signals as cues to regulate the expression of genes important in virulence.

The Bacterial Cytoskeleton

Intracellular cytoskeletal protein assemblies with a cell-shape defining function have recently been discovered in bacteria. The bacterial actin-like MreB protein polymerises into helical filamentous structures which span across the cytoplasm and interact with components of the inner membrane. We are elucidating the contribution of the bacterial cytoskeleton to the biology and pathogenicity of Salmonella. We have demonstrated the MreB-based cytoskeleton is important for the expression of flagella and the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1) Type3 secretion system as well as cell morphology.

Burkholderia cepacia and Inflammatory Host Responses

Burkholderia cepacia is an opportunistic pathogen of cystic fibrosis and lung transplant patients. We are investigating the proinflammatory activities of different genomovars of B.cepacia and correlating these with poor post lung transplant outcome. Our team has demonstrated that the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) chemotype is responsible for this activity. We are also identifying genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of LPS.


The Research Group

Postdoctoral Research Associates:

Dr Michail Karavolos (MRC)

Dr David Bulmer (MRC)

Dr Sonya Carnell (Italian CF Trust)

Dr Wei Chen (China Scholarship Council)

Present and Recent Graduate PhD Students:

Ms Anne Doble (MRC)

Ms Lubna Kharraz (Ford Foundation of America)

Ms Hannah Spencer (BBSRC)

Mr Rerngwit Boonyom (Royal Thai Government)


Other Expertise

Molecular and Cellular Biology of Microbial Pathogens

Infection and Immunity 

Systems Biology

Vaccine Discovery


Research Roles

Principle Investigator

Director of the FMS Microbiology Containment Level 3 Research Suites


Postgraduate Supervision

Prospective International students, as well as UK students, with interests in Molecular and Cellular Microbiology are particularly encouraged to apply for doctoral degrees (PhD).


Esteem Indicators

Member of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Infections and Immunity Board College of Experts



Medical Research Council (MRC)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Wellcome Trust
Newcastle Healthcare and NHS Hospitals Special Trustees Charity 



Four International Patents Awarded in the areas of Biotechnology, and Vaccine Discovery and Delivery


Undergraduate teaching include the following modules:

BMS2002: Cell Signalling

MIC2025:  Bacterial Interactions with Human Hosts and

                the Immune System in Human Disease

MIC2027:  Parasitic and Viral Diseases (Module Leader)

MIC3043:  Research in Medical Microbiology and Immunology

MIC3027:  Bacterial Pathogenicity and Disease

MIC3046:  Pathogenic Viruses, Protozoa, and Fungi (Module Leader)

CMB3000: Research Projects 


Postgraduate teaching:

PhD Supervisor

PhD Examiner