• 3 SOUTH 1.16

1994 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Research in the group is in the broad area of bacterial pathogenesis. In particular our work is focused on the genus Bordetella. This group includes important pathogens of humans and animal, notably the main causative agent of Whooping Cough, B. pertussis. It also includes non-pathogenic, environmental species and some species for which the reservoirs are unclear and their true pathogenic nature is unknown.

Our studies encompass fundmental investigations of bacterial factors important to the infection biology of these bacteria, with an emphasis on surface polysaccharides such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS); more applied projects such as defining Bordetella metabolism with the aim of improving in vitro culture processes for vaccine production and elucidation of the evolutionary relationships between these and other bacteria.

Infection Biology

We have defined structure function relationships for many of the different regions of Bordetella LPS, including the role of the Band A trisaccharide and O polysaccharide in infection and immunity. We continue to investigate the genetic basis for LPS biosynthesis among the Bordetella and use this information to make defined genetic mutants whose phenotypes reveal the role of particular structures in infection.

Collaborators: Dr Eric Harvill, Penn State University, USA; Dr Bob Ernst, University of Baltimore-Maryland, USA.


We are generating genome-scale metabolic models for B. pertussis metabolism with the aim of improving on current culture methods for use in biotechnology and vaccine production. This work combines mathematical modeling with wet lab studies, in cycles of model validation and refinement.

Collaborators: Dr Caroline Colijn, Imperial College, London; Dr Philippe Dehottay & Dr Philippe Goffin, GSK Biologicals, Rixensaart, Belgium.


We have a long standing involvement of generating and analysing genome sequences for the bordetellae. We are currently involved in a large scale analysis of the global population structure of B. pertussis, focused analysis of current UK B. pertussis strains and evolutionary relationships between all members of the genus.

Collaborators: Simon Harris & Julian Parkhill, Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK; Dr Eric Harvill, Penn State University, USA.

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Preston, A. & Cowley, L.

The Leverhulme Trust


Project: UK charity

  • Research Output

    A qPCR assay for Bordetella pertussis cells that enumerates both live and dead bacteria

    Ramkissoon, S., MacArthur, I., Ibrahim, M., De Graaf, H., Read, R. C. & Preston, A., 30 Apr 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 4, e0232334.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    Controlled human infection with Bordetella pertussis induces asymptomatic, immunising colonisation

    Preston, A., de Graaf, H., Ibrahim, M., Hill, A., Gbesemete, D., Vaughn, A., Gorringe, A., Buisman, A-M., Faust, S., Kester, K., Berbers, G., Diavotopoulos, D. & Read, R., 28 Sep 2019, In : Clinical Infectious Diseases. p. 1-35 35 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    How Genomics Is Changing What We Know About the Evolution and Genome of Bordetella pertussis

    Ring, N., Abrahams, J., Bagby, S., Preston, A. & MacArthur, I., 19 Jul 2019, Pertussis Infection and Vaccines. Fedele, G. & Ausiello, C. (eds.). Springer, p. 1-17 17 p. (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    The evolution of Bordetella pertussis has selected for mutations of acr that lead to sensitivity to hydrophobic molecules and fatty acids.

    MacArthur, I., Belcher, T., King, J., Ramasamy, V., Alhammadi, M. & Preston, A., 10 Apr 2019, In : Emerging Microbes and Infections. 8, 1, p. 603-612 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    Bordetella pertussis isolates vary in their interactions with human complement components article

    Brookes, C., Freire-Martin, I., Cavell, B., Alexander, F., Taylor, S., Persaud, R., Fry, N., Preston, A., Diavatopoulos, D. & Gorringe, A., 2018, In : Emerging Microbes and Infections. 7, 1, p. 1-14 15 p., 81.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 5 Citations (Scopus)


    Investigating the growth and metabolic difference of Bvg+ and Bvg- phase Bordetella pertussis

    Author: Belcher, T., 16 Nov 2017

    Supervisor: Preston, A. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


    Is the circulating UK Bordetella pertussis population evolving to evade vaccine-induced immunity?

    Author: Sealey, K., 29 Jun 2016

    Supervisor: Preston, A. (Supervisor), Gorringe, A. R. (External person) (Supervisor) & Fry, N. K. (External person) (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD