Professor Gordon Dougan

Professor Gordon Dougan's research focuses on the genetic analysis of host/pathogen interactions during infection, particularly those involving enteric bacteria. He has worked extensively in both academia and industry, making important contributions in the field of vaccinology where he has worked to improve vaccine delivery to poorly resourced regions.

Gordon has extensive teaching experience at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has served on several editorial boards and regularly reviews manuscripts for high-impact journals. He is a consultant for industry and has founded biotechnology companies, including the single-chain antibody company VHSquared.

Gordon is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Biology Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and is an EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organization) member. He established the Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection (including a raising funding for a building) at Imperial College London and was the Board of Management representative for Pathogen Research for ten years (2004-2014) at the Sanger Institute where he is currently a Senior Group Leader.

Current position

Gordon is currently a Senior Group Leader at the Sanger Institute. His research focuses on the use of genomics to study host/pathogen interactions during infection. The team consists of 10-15 individuals including core scientists (in vivo, FACS (Fluorescence-activated cell sorting) and microscopy), Postdoctoral Fellows and PhD students.

On joining the Sanger Institute in 2004, Gordon reshaped the science, building new facilities and recruiting new Faculty. He nurtured links with the internal Mouse and Human Genetics programmes and established a global network of collaborators built around open-access policies. Gordon's current Faculty research investigates host/pathogen interactions associated with enteric bacterial pathogens, principally S. enterica serovar Typhi. He also directs other projects investigating the genetics of host susceptibility to infection through mouse and zebrafish infection screens.


Gordon has been a university lecturer both in the UK and abroad (The Republic of Ireland) and has run or participated in many teaching courses for undergraduates, MSc or PhD students (both lecture courses and practical). He has lectured to science, dental, medical and pharmacy students and coordinated courses and assessments for these groups. Gordon has supervised over 60 successful PhD students, many of whom are now independent scientific leaders or occupy important positions in industry or government organisations. These include more than ten full Professors in the UK and abroad. Gordon also regularly participates in or organises scientific courses targeting young scientists and clinicians.

Industry and International work

Gordon worked for more than ten years for the multi-national pharmaceutical company, The Wellcome Foundation, which is now part of GSK. During this period he became Head of Molecular Biology, managing teams working on vaccines, humanised antibodies and scale-up systems. He contributed to the discovery of pertactin as a key protective antigen for acellular whooping cough vaccines and is now an advisor for many companies, serving as an Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) or Board member. Gordon was Chair of the SAB for Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics for more than ten years and helped found the Novartis Vaccine Global Health Institute (NVGH).

He is currently on the board of The Hilleman Laboratories, a joint enterprise between Merck and The Wellcome Trust and has founded spin-out companies and served as a Trustee at the International Vaccine Institute in Korea. Gordon is also currently an SAB member for ICDDR-B (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh) and has served as a member of several WHO (World Health Organization) Committees.

Selected Publications

  • Intracontinental spread of human invasive Salmonella Typhimurium pathovariants in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Okoro CK, Kingsley RA, Connor TR, Harris SR, Parry CM, Al-Mashhadani MN, Kariuki S, Msefula CL, Gordon MA, de Pinna E, Wain J, Heyderman RS, Obaro S, Alonso PL, Mandomando I, MacLennan CA, Tapia MD, Levine MM, Tennant SM, Parkhill J and Dougan G

    Nature genetics 2012;44;11;1215-21

  • IFITM3 restricts the morbidity and mortality associated with influenza.

    Everitt AR, Clare S, Pertel T, John SP, Wash RS, Smith SE, Chin CR, Feeley EM, Sims JS, Adams DJ, Wise HM, Kane L, Goulding D, Digard P, Anttila V, Baillie JK, Walsh TS, Hume DA, Palotie A, Xue Y, Colonna V, Tyler-Smith C, Dunning J, Gordon SB, GenISIS Investigators, MOSAIC Investigators, Smyth RL, Openshaw PJ, Dougan G, Brass AL and Kellam P

    Nature 2012;484;7395;519-23

  • Targeted restoration of the intestinal microbiota with a simple, defined bacteriotherapy resolves relapsing Clostridium difficile disease in mice.

    Lawley TD, Clare S, Walker AW, Stares MD, Connor TR, Raisen C, Goulding D, Rad R, Schreiber F, Brandt C, Deakin LJ, Pickard DJ, Duncan SH, Flint HJ, Clark TG, Parkhill J and Dougan G

    PLoS pathogens 2012;8;10;e1002995

  • Evidence for several waves of global transmission in the seventh cholera pandemic.

    Mutreja A, Kim DW, Thomson NR, Connor TR, Lee JH, Kariuki S, Croucher NJ, Choi SY, Harris SR, Lebens M, Niyogi SK, Kim EJ, Ramamurthy T, Chun J, Wood JL, Clemens JD, Czerkinsky C, Nair GB, Holmgren J, Parkhill J and Dougan G

    Nature 2011;477;7365;462-5

  • The neglected role of antibody in protection against bacteremia caused by nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella in African children.

    MacLennan CA, Gondwe EN, Msefula CL, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, White SA, Goodall M, Pickard DJ, Graham SM, Dougan G, Hart CA, Molyneux ME and Drayson MT

    The Journal of clinical investigation 2008;118;4;1553-62

  • A linear plasmid truncation induces unidirectional flagellar phase change in H:z66 positive Salmonella Typhi.

    Baker S, Holt K, Whitehead S, Goodhead I, Perkins T, Stocker B, Hardy J and Dougan G

    Molecular microbiology 2007;66;5;1207-18

  • Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium exploits inflammation to compete with the intestinal microbiota.

    Stecher B, Robbiani R, Walker AW, Westendorf AM, Barthel M, Kremer M, Chaffron S, Macpherson AJ, Buer J, Parkhill J, Dougan G, von Mering C and Hardt WD

    PLoS biology 2007;5;10;2177-89

  • Requirement of bic/microRNA-155 for normal immune function.

    Rodriguez A, Vigorito E, Clare S, Warren MV, Couttet P, Soond DR, van Dongen S, Grocock RJ, Das PP, Miska EA, Vetrie D, Okkenhaug K, Enright AJ, Dougan G, Turner M and Bradley A

    Science (New York, N.Y.) 2007;316;5824;608-11

[Wellcome Library, London]

Gordon's Project
Microbial Pathogenesis
Research Area
Pathogen Genetics
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