Dr Keith Turner

Senior Researcher

Contact via email

Investigating the evolution of antimicrobial resistance


I am using genomics to gain a fuller understanding of bacterial cell biology.  By using whole genome screens to associate genotype to phenotype I hope to gain a better understanding of which bacterial genes are required for survival and growth under different environmental conditions and stresses. I am applying this to understand mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, and to how bacteria in the human microbiome interact with each other to influence our health.

Understanding the genetic basis of how bacteria survive, and thrive, in these different environments will provide us with opportunities to control or remove pathogenic bacteria, or make better use of bacteria that are of medical or industrial importance.

Previously, I have co-founded and worked for a biotechnology company using genomics approaches to develop new antibiotics and understand their mode of action.

I have also worked at the Sanger Institute where I developed the very powerful genomics technology that we are using today, and where I also worked on the human intestinal microbiota, sequencing the genomes of important commensal bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract, including the genomes of single isolated bacterial cells that had not before been cultured.

Earlier in my career, I worked in the biotechnology industry developing live attenuated bacterial vaccines, and worked for several years researching agricultural microbiology.  My first job was as a forensic genetic fingerprinter, and I was an expert witness for a number of murder and rape trials in the law courts.

I obtained my PhD from Bristol University on the subject of bacterial transposable genetic elements.

Key Publications

O-Antigen-Dependent Colicin Insensitivity of Uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Sharp C, Boinett C, Cain A, Housden NG, Kumar S, Turner K, Parkhill J, Kleanthous C.
J Bacteriol. 2019 Jan 28;201(4). https://doi.org/10.1128/JB.00545-18

Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Arumugam M, Raes J, Pelletier E, Le Paslier D, Yamada T, Mende DR, Fernandes GR, Tap J, Bruls T, Batto JM, Bertalan M, Borruel N, Casellas F, Fernandez L, Gautier L, Hansen T, Hattori M, Hayashi T, Kleerebezem M, Kurokawa K, Leclerc M, Levenez F, Manichanh C, Nielsen HB, Nielsen T, Pons N, Poulain J, Qin J, Sicheritz-Ponten T, Tims S, Torrents D, Ugarte E, Zoetendal EG, Wang J, Guarner F, Pedersen O, de Vos WM, Brunak S, Doré J; MetaHIT Consortium, Antolín M, Artiguenave F, Blottiere HM, Almeida M, Brechot C, Cara C, Chervaux C, Cultrone A, Delorme C, Denariaz G, Dervyn R, Foerstner KU, Friss C, van de Guchte M, Guedon E, Haimet F, Huber W, van Hylckama-Vlieg J, Jamet A, Juste C, Kaci G, Knol J, Lakhdari O, Layec S, Le Roux K, Maguin E, Mérieux A, Melo Minardi R, M’rini C, Muller J, Oozeer R, Parkhill J, Renault P, Rescigno M, Sanchez N, Sunagawa S, Torrejon A, Turner K, Vandemeulebrouck G, Varela E, Winogradsky Y, Zeller G, Weissenbach J, Ehrlich SD, Bork P.
Nature. 2011 May 12;473(7346):174-80. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09944

The Essential Genome of Escherichia coli K-12. Goodall ECA, Robinson A, Johnston IG, Jabbari S, Turner KA, Cunningham AF, Lund PA, Cole JA, Henderson IR.
MBio. 2018 Feb 20;9(1). https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02096-17

Generation and characterization of a live attenuated enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli combination vaccine expressing six colonization factors and heat-labile toxin subunit B. Turner AK, Stephens JC, Beavis JC, Greenwood J, Gewert C, Randall R, Freeman D, Darsley MJ.
Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Dec;18(12):2128-35. https://doi.org/10.1128/CVI.05345-11

Simultaneous assay of every Salmonella Typhi gene using one million transposon mutants. Langridge GC, Phan MD, Turner DJ, Perkins TT, Parts L, Haase J, Charles I, Maskell DJ, Peters SE, Dougan G, Wain J, Parkhill J, Turner AK.
Genome Res. 2009 Dec;19(12):2308-16. https://doi.org/10.1101/gr.097097.109

Acton L, Pye HV, Thilliez G, Kolenda R, Matthews M, Turner AK, Yasir M, Holden E, Al-Khanaq H, Webber M, Adriaenssens EM, Kingsley . (2024)

Collateral sensitivity increases the efficacy of a rationally designed bacteriophage combination to control Salmonella enterica

Journal of Virology

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Abd El, Barquist L, Clare S, Brandt C, Mayho M, Joffre E, Sjöling Å, Turner AK, Klena JD, Kingsley R, Hill-Cawthorne GA, Dougan G, Pickard D. (2021)

Functional analysis of colonization factor antigen I positive enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli identifies genes implicated in survival in water and host colonization.

Microbial genomics

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Webber M., Yasir M., Turner K., Bastkowski S., Baker D., Page A., Telatin A., Savva G., Charles I.. (2020)

TraDIS-Xpress: a high-resolution whole-genome assay identifies novel mechanisms of triclosan action and resistance.

Genome Research, 30, 239-249

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Coward C,Dharmalingham G,Abdulle O,Avis T,Beisken S,Breidenstein E,Carli N,Figueiredo L,Jones D,Khan N,Malara S,Martins J,Nagalingam N,Turner K,Wain J,Williams D,Powell D,Mason C. (2020)

High-density transposon libraries utilising outward-oriented promoters identify mechanisms of action and resistance to antimicrobials.

FEMS microbiology letters

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