Dr Sam Willcocks


Assistant Professor

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

After completing my PhD in innate immunology at the Royal Veterinary College, I joined LSHTM in 2008 for my first post-doc position. Working with Prof Ulrich Schaible, I investigated host-pathogen interactions in tuberculosis infection, particularly the role of cell-wall lipids and antimicrobial peptides. I have since worked with Prof Brendan Wren and Dr Richard Stabler, using next generation molecular techniques to identify virulence factors in Gram negative pathogens including: Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei and Acinetobacter baumannii. In 2017, I was awarded an MRC Confidence in Concept Award to develop novel antimicrobials against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. I am the discipline lead for the Biological and Pharmacological Sciences pillar of the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre. Currently, I lead the Prof Anil Koul lab in the discovery of novel drug targets in MTB and leverage multi-omic technology to characterise the bacterial response to antimicrobials.


Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Department of Infection Biology


TB Centre
Antimicrobial Resistance Centre (AMR)


Distance Learning Tutor

Lecturer in Burkholderia sp. virulence factors and cell biology practical classes

MSc Supervisor

PhD supervisor


1. M Bartens, A Gibson, G Etherington, F Di Palma, A Holder, D Werling and S Willcocks ‘Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the Bovine TLR2 Extracellular Domain Contribute to Breed and Species-Specific Innate Immune Functionality’, Frontiers in Immunology, 23 December 2021, doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.764390

2. A Gibson, I Passmore, V Faulkner, D Xia, I Nobeli, J Stiens, S Willcocks, T Clark, B Sobkowiak, D Werling, B Villarreal-Ramos, BW Wren and S Kendall, ‘Probing Differences in Gene Essentiality Between the Human and Animal Adapted Lineages of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Using TnSeq’, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 24 December 2021, doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.760717

3. Kamuyu G, Suen Cheng Y, Willcocks S, Kewcharoenwong C, Kiratisin P, Taylor PW, Wren BW, Lertmemongkolchai G, Stabler RA, Brown J. ‘Sequential Vaccination With Heterologous Acinetobacter baumannii Strains Induces Broadly Reactive Antibody Responses’. Front Immunol. 2021 Jul 30;12:705533. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.705533

4. G Knight, R Glover, C McQuaid, I Olaru, K Gallandat, Q Leclerc, N Fuller, S Willcocks, R Hasan, E Kleef, C Chandler ‘Antimicrobial resistance and COVID-19: Intersections and implications’ Elife 2021 Feb 16;10:e64139. doi: 10.7554/eLife.64139

5. Munshi T, Sparrow A, Wren BW, Reljic R, Willcocks SJ ‘The Antimicrobial Peptide, Bactenecin 5, Supports Cell-Mediated but Not Humoral Immunity in the Context of a Mycobacterial Antigen Vaccine Model. Antibiotics. 2020 Dec 19;9(12):926. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics9120926.

6. V Faulkner, A Cox, S Goh , A Bohemen , A Gibson , O Liebster, B Wren , S Willcocks, S Kendall ‘Re-sensitization of Mycobacterium smegmatis to Rifampicin Using CRISPR Interference Demonstrates Its Utility for the Study of Non-essential Drug Resistance Traits’ Front Microbiol 2021 Feb 1;11:619427. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.619427.

7. Kewcharoenwong C, Saenwongsa W, Willcocks SJ, Bancroft GJ, Fletcher HA, Lertmemongkolchai G. ‘Glibenclamide alters interleukin-8 and interleukin-1β of primary human monocytes from diabetes patients against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.’ Tuberculosis. 2020 Jul;123:101939. doi: 0.1016/

8. Willcocks SJ, Cia F, Francisco A, Bancroft G, Wren B ‘Revisiting Aminocoumarins in the Treatment of Melioidosis’. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 2020 Apr 30;106002

9. H Painter, SA Prabowo, F Cia, L Stockdale, R Tanner, S Willcocks, R Reljic, H Fletcher and A Zelmer ‘Development of an ex vivo mycobacterial growth inhibition assay using murine lung cells for tuberculosis vaccine testing’. Scientific Reports, Feb 2020.

10. Willcocks SJ; Denman C; Cia F; McCarthy E; Cuccui, J; Wren BW ‘Virulence of the Emerging Pathogen, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Depends Upon The O-linked Oligosaccharyltransferase, PglL’ . Future Microbiology, 2020 Mar;15:241-257

11. Glover R, Manton J, Willcocks S, Stabler R ‘Subscription model for antibiotic development: An unlikely answer to the global crisis in antibiotic resistance’. The BMJ. 2019;366;I5364

12. Willcocks SJ, Huse KK, Stabler R, Oyston PCF, Scott A, Atkins HS, Wren BW ‘Genome-wide Assessment of Antimicrobial Tolerance in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Under Ciprofloxacin Stress’ . Microbial Genomics, 2019 Oct

13. Price RL, Bugeon L, Mostowy S, Makendi C, Wren BW, Williams HD, Willcocks SJ ‘In vitro and in vivo properties of the bovine antimicrobial peptide, Bactenecin 5.’ PLoS One. 2019 Jan 9;14(1)

14. Willcocks SJ, Stabler RA, Atkins HS, Oyston PF, Wren BW, ‘High-throughput analysis of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis gene essentiality in optimised in vitro conditions, and implications for the speciation of Yersinia pestis’ BMC Microbiology 2018 18(1):46

15. Pinweha P, Pumirat P, Cuccui J, Jitprasutwit N, Muangsombut V, Srinon V, Boonyuen U, Thiennimitr P, Vattanaviboon P, Cia F, Willcocks S, Bancroft GJ, Wren BW, Korbsrisate S ‘Inactivation of bpsl1039-1040 ATP-binding cassette transporter reduces intracellular survival in macrophages, biofilm formation and virulence in the murine model of Burkholderia pseudomallei infection’ PLOS One 2018 17;13(5)

16. Patin E, Willcocks S, Haas A, Nimmerjahn F, Lang R, Ward T, Schaible U ‘Trehalose dimycolate interferes with FcγR-mediated phagosome maturation through Mincle, SHP-1 and FcγRIIB signalling ’ PLOS One. Accepted for publication March 2017

17. Bednarska NG, Wren BW, Willcocks SJ. The Importance of the Glycosylation of Antimicrobial Peptides: Natural and Synthetic Approaches. Drug Discov Today. 2017 Feb 16

18. Polycarpou A, Holland M, Karageorgious I, Eddaoudi A, Walker S, Willcocks S, Lockwood D, ‘Mycobacterium leprae Activates Toll-Like Receptor-4 Signaling and Expression on Macrophages Depending on Previous Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Vaccination’ Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, July 2016

19. Patin E, Willcocks S, Orr S, Ward T, Lang R, Schaible U, ‘Mincle mediated anti-inflammatory IL-10 response counter regulates IL-12 in vitro’ Innate Immunity, Feb 2016

20. Willcocks S, Denman C, Atkins H, Wren B ‘Intracellular Replication of the Well-Armed Pathogen, Burkholderia pseudomallei’ Current Opinions in Microbiology, Jan 2016

21. Moule M, Spink N, Willcocks S, Lim J, Guerra-Assuncao A, Cia F, Champion O, Senior N, Atkins H, Clark T, Bancroft G, Cuccui J, Wren B ‘Characterisation of New Virulence Factors Involved in the Intracellular Growth and Survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei’ Infection and Immunity, Dec 2015

22. Willcocks S, Stabler R, Wren B ‘More Signal, Less Noise: Single Primer Adenylation Method for the Efficient Preparation of DNA for Transposon Sequencing’ BioArchive Dec 2014

23. Willcocks S and Wren B ‘Shared Characteristics Between M. tuberculosis and Fungi Contribute to Virulence’ Future Microbiology (9) 657-668, 2014

24. Willcocks S, Offord V, Seyfert H Coffey T, Werling D, ‘Species-specific PAMP recognition by TLR2 and evidence for species-restricted interaction with Dectin-1’ Journal of Leukocyte Biology 94 (3) 449-458 2013

25. Yamakawa Y, Pennelegion C, Willcocks S, Stalker A, Machugh N, Burt D, Coffey TJ, Werling D ‘Identification and Functional Characterization of a Bovine Orthologue to DC-SIGN’ Journal of Leukocyte Biology 83(6) 1396-403 2008

26. Willcocks S et al ‘Identification and Gene Expression of the Bovine C-Type Lectin, Dectin-1’ Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 113:234-42 2006

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Research Area
Drug discovery and development
Drug resistance
Innate immunity
Cell biology
Molecular biology
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Pandemic diseases
Emerging Infectious Disease
Respiratory disease
Tropical diseases

Selected Publications

Revisiting aminocoumarins for the treatment of melioidosis.
Willcocks SJ; Cia F; Francisco AF; Wren BW
Virulence of the emerging pathogen, Burkholderia pseudomallei, depends upon the O-linked oligosaccharyltransferase, PglL.
Willcocks SJ; Denman C; Cia F; McCarthy E; Cuccui J; Wren BW
Future Microbiol
See more Publications