Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology

Staff Profile

Professor Jeff Errington FMedSci FRS

Director of the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology (CBCB)


VACANCIES - We are always open to informal enquiries for PhD or Post-doctoral positions in this lab, and often find a way to fund good candidates. Please feel free to email me if you are interested (jeff.errington@ncl.ac.uk ).  

Senior Research Associates

Dr Yoshikazu Kawai, Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Ling Juan Wu, Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr Yousef Dashti, Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Kaveh Emami, Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr David Roberts, Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Andrew Watson, Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow

Graduate Students

Jonathan Chapman, MRC CASE Studentship
Felaine Sumang, DOST-SEI Foreign Graduate Scholarship Program, Philippines
Mary Salliss, University Graduate Studentship 

Research Technicians

Ms Fran Davison
Dr Maki Kawai 

Appointments, honours and awards

2018-23 2nd Wellcome Senior Investigator Award
2018 Edmond de Rothschild Lecture, l'Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris
2017 12th Memorial Lecture "David Vazquez", CBM, Madrid
2017 Lwoff Award and Medal, Federation of European Microbiological Societies
2015 Elected to the European Academy of Microbiology
2015 Jean Shanks Lecture, UK Academy of Medical Sciences
2015-20 2nd European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant
2015 Leeuwenhoek Lecture, Prize and Medal of the Royal Society
2015-17 Chair of the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group; Molecular Basis of Cell Function
2014 20th Anniversary Medal and Prize, BBSRC
2014 Novartis Medal and Prize, UK Biochemical Society
2013- Co-Director, Newcastle University Centre for Synthetic Biology and Bioexploitation
2012-18 Wellcome Senior Investigator Award
2012 BBSRC Health portfolio Working Group
2011 8th Sir William Dunn Lecture, Cambridge
2011 Mendel Lecture, Brno, Czech Republic
2010 European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant
2010-2013 Director Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ)
2009 Inaugural Joel Mandelstam Memorial Lecture, University of Oxford
2009 Fred Griffith Prize Review Lecture, Society for General Microbiology
2009- Editorial Board EMBO Journal, EMBO Reports
2008 Co-Chair Gordon Conference on Bacterial Cell Surfaces
2008 Kluyver Lecture of the Dutch Microbiological Society
2007- Founder, Director, Chairman, Demuris Ltd
2007 Highly Cited status on ISI Web of Science
2007-2009 Council of the Royal Society
2007 Elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
2007 Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Science
2006-2009 Panel member of the Wellcome Trust Molecules, Genes and Cells Committee
2006 Co-Chair Gordon Conference on "Bacterial Cell Surfaces", USA
2005 Co-organiser 2nd ASM / SGM Conference on "Prokaryotic Development", Vancouver
2005-2012 Director of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University
2005 Krampitz Lecture (USA)
2004 Elected to EMBO
2003 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
2002 Co-organiser Juan March Foundation Workshop “Bacterial Cell Division”; Madrid
2002-2005 Elected Council Member, Society for General Microbiology
2002 Nordström Lecture (Sweden)
2001 Franco Tatò Memorial Lecture (Italy)
2000-2003 Genes and Developmental Biology Committee, BBSRC.
1998- Editorial Board, Current Opinion in Microbiology.
1998 Co-organiser of Colloquium for the American Society for Microbiology.
1999- Trustee to the EPA Cephalosporin Research Fund, Oxford.
1998-2009 Scientific Founder, Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Prolysis Ltd, Oxford.
1997-2002 BBSRC Senior (Professorial) Research Fellowship, Oxford.
1997 Awarded title of Professor of Microbiology, Oxford.
1996 Co-Organiser 44th Harden Conference of the Biochemical Society.
1996- Editorial Board, Molecular Microbiology.
1993-1994 Visiting Scholar, Biochemistry Department, University of Sydney, Australia.
1993-1994 Cell Committment and Differentiation Initiative Steering group, BBSRC.
1992-1994 Editorial Board, Journal of Bacteriology.
1990-1993 Molecular Biology and Genetics Subcommittee, SERC.
1990-1993 Genetics and Molecular Biology Group, Society for General Microbiology.
1985 Awarded Royal Society University Research Fellowship, Oxford.
1977 John Corran Prize for outstanding undergraduate work in genetics.


Work in the lab is presently supported mainly by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award. Several students and post-docs have been supported directly by Long Term Fellowships from EMBO and the EU Marie-Curie scheme.

Industrial Relevance

Early work from the Errington lab was exploited through a spin-out company Prolysis Ltd, which was acquired by an international anti-infectives company Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc.

A Newcastle University spin out company Demuris Ltd (www.Demuris.co.uk) was established in 2008 to exploit drug antibiotic screening opportunities emerging from the Errington lab.


Several patents have been filed or granted on antibiotic screening methods and new antibiotic compounds. 


Research Interests

Bacterial cell biology, antibiotic discovery, synthetic biology and infectious disease

Cell division, chromosome segregation, and the control of cell shape are some of the most fundamental problems in biology. This lab uses an array of biochemical, genetic and microscopic methods to study these problems in a range of bacteria, including important pathogens.

We also collaborate with Demuris Ltd, an antibiotic discovery company, in finding inhibitors of some of the essential cell processes we study, which might be turned into novel antibiotics. The compounds we look for are made by actinomycetes, a fascinating group of bacteria that make many of our current antibiotics and other drugs, and have amazing biology and life cycles.

Finally, we study cell wall deficient or “L-form” bacteria and have described the molecular basis for their growth and proliferation. These curious organisms are interesting for three very fundamental reasons. First, they are good models for primordial cells of interest to thinking about the origins of cellular life. Second, they can be used in innovative ways as “chassis” for synthetic biology applications. Third, they are probably important in a range of chronic, persistent or recurrent infections, such as urinary tract infections.

Work in the Errington lab is funded mainly by two very large grants from the Wellcome Trust and the European Research Council.

Informal enquiries from prospective graduate students and post-docs are welcome at any time.

Key references

Gruber S, Errington J. (2009) Recruitment of the SMC complex to replication origin regions by Spo0J/ParB bound to parS sites in Bacillus subtilis. Cell 137, 685-696.

Mercier R, Kawai Y, Errington J. (2013) Excess membrane synthesis drives a primitive mode of cell proliferation. Cell 152, 997-1007.

Kawai Y, Mickiewicz K, Errington J. (2018) Lysozyme counteracts β-lactam antibiotics by promoting the emergence of L-form bacteria. Cell 172 1038-1104.


Undergraduate Teaching

MIC3043, Biomedicine Plus

CME8521, Innovation, IPR & Patents 

CMB3000 project

Postgraduate Teaching

MRes module MMB8016 (Molecular Microbiology)

Ph.D. supervisor