Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology

Staff Profile

Dr Paula Salgado

Senior Lecturer in Macromolecular Crystallography, Theme Lead


Research Positions

2019 - present   Theme Lead for Molecular Mechanisms of Life Theme, FMS, Newcastle University

2019 - present   Senior Lecturer of Macromolecular Crystallography, NUBI, Newcastle University

2012 - 2019       Lecturer of Macromolecular Crystallography, ICaMB, Newcastle University

2011 - 2012       Research Associate, Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, UK

2008 – 2011      Research Associate, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, UK

2005 – 2008      Research Associate, School of Crystallography, Birkbeck College/University College, London, UK


2001 – 2005    PhD in Structural Biology, Henry Wellcome Trust Building for Human Genetics, University of Oxford and Open University. "Structural Studies of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases"                         Supervisors: Dr Jon Grimes and Prof Dave I Stuart

1993 -1999     BSc in Biochemistry, Science Faculty & Institute of Biomedical Sciences “Abel Salazar”, University of Porto, Portugal. Research Project: "Structure determination of transthyretin variants"


Research Awards

March 2022 - March 2025 - Research Grant MRC

October 2017 - October 2021 - Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award

November 2014 - November 2017 - New Investigator Research Grant, MRC

April 2013 - March 2014 - Royal Society Research Grant

March - June 2011 - Wellcome Trust Value In People Award

Oct 01 - Oct 2005 - PhD Fellowship (part of Human Frontier Science Program Research Grant)



As a structural biologist interested in proteins associated with pathogenicity and disease, I have recently established a C. difficile Structural Microbiology group focusing on detailed structural and functional characterisation of proteins involved in key pathogenicity pathways in this major human pathogen. Combining these approaches, we are interested in C. difficile spores, the dormant, resistant cell forms that are the transmission vehicle, as well as surface proteins and their role in infection.


Clostridioides difficile S-layer

C. difficile is now the most prevalent hospital acquired infection in the UK. These gram-positive bacteria have an outside para-crystalline layer (S-layer) that is presumed to act as a protective shield and that is thought to be implicated in virulence, 
host interaction and immune activation. We focus on understanding S-layer organisation, primarily by determining the structure of the major S-layer protein constituent, SlpA. This work is part of a Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award with colleagues from Sheffield and Glasgow universities.

We are also studying other cell wall proteins identified in C. difficile, aiming to understand their macromolecular details with our structural studies that complement work developed by our collaborators.


Sporulation engulfment machinery 

Work in the Salgado lab, awarded an MRC New Investigator Grant (Nov 2014), has identified two essential proteins involved in the early stages of sporulation (Crawshaw et al., 2014, Serrano et al., 2016). We have also contributed to elucidating details of the engulfment mechanism to start defining the complex machinery involved in this process, which we termed the engulfasome (Kelly and Salgado, 2019). We have recently been awarded a Research Grant from the MRC to continue our work to unravel the molecular mechanism of engulfment in C. difficile.





PhD students

                       - Victoria Burge

                       - Charlotte Roughton

                       - Gilly Wang

MRes/MSci, UG projects and summer vacancies

Module leader:

Studying Life at the Molecular Level (MMB8018), MRes module


Advanced Protein Analysis (BGM2062), BSc Biochemistry