Professor Brendan Wren


of Microbial Pathogenesis and Dean of Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases

Room 381

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 20 7927 2288

Brendan Wren's research interests predominantly involve determining the genetic basis by which bacterial pathogens cause disease. His research group exploits a range of post genome research strategies to gain a comprehensive understanding of how these pathogens function, how they evolve and how they interact with their respective hosts. A core interest includes deciphering the bacterial glycocode and how glycostructures relate to the survival and virulence of bacterial pathogens. An application of this basic research is the development of Protein Glycan Coupling Technology for the production of recombinant glycoproteins. This has been applied for the development of inexpensive glycoconjugate vaccines for human and veterinary use.


Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases


Vaccine Centre


Brendan Wren is a member of the board of examiners for the MSc in Medical Microbiology (MM) and also lectures and examines on this course.


Current research focuses on:

  • Bacterial glycosylation and their role in virulence
  • Exploitation of bacterial glycosylation systems for glycoengineering towards novel antibiotic and vaccine design
  • Comparative phylogenomics and the evolution of bacterial virulence

Research on individual pathogens include; Clostridium difficileCampylobacter jejuniHelicobacter pyloriBurkholderia pseudomallei, Acinetobacter baumanniiFrancisella tularensisStreptococcus pneumonia, Vibrio cholerae and the enteropathogenic Yersinia.

Campylobacter Resource Facility link.

Research Area
Molecular biology
Disease and Health Conditions
Diarrhoeal diseases
Infectious disease
Zoonotic disease
Gambia, The
East Asia & Pacific (developing only)
Europe & Central Asia (all income levels)
South Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

The post-translational modification of the Clostridium difficile flagellin affects motility, cell surface properties and virulence.
Faulds-Pain, A. ; Twine, S.M. ; Vinogradov, E. ; Strong, P.C. ; Dell, A. ; Buckley, A.M. ; Douce, G.R. ; Valiente, E. ; Logan, S.M. ; Wren, B.W. ;
Mol Microbiol
Exploitation of bacterial N-linked glycosylation to develop a novel recombinant glycoconjugate vaccine against Francisella tularensis.
Cuccui, J. ; Thomas, R.M. ; Moule, M.G. ; D'Elia, R.V. ; Laws, T.R. ; Mills, D.C. ; Williamson, D. ; Atkins, T.P. ; Prior, J.L. ; Wren, B.W. ;
Open Biol
Emergence and global spread of epidemic healthcare-associated Clostridium difficile.
He, M. ; Miyajima, F. ; Roberts, P. ; Ellison, L. ; Pickard, D.J. ; Martin, M.J. ; Connor, T.R. ; Harris, S.R. ; Fairley, D. ; Bamford, K.B. ; D'Arc, S. ; Brazier, J. ; Brown, D. ; Coia, J.E. ; Douce, G. ; Gerding, D. ; Kim, H.J. ; Koh, T.H. ; Kato, H. ; Senoh, M. ; Louie, T. ; Michell, S. ; Butt, E. ; Peacock, S.J. ; Brown, N.M. ; Riley, T. ; Songer, G. ; Wilcox, M. ; Pirmohamed, M. ; Kuijper, E. ; Hawkey, P. ; Wren, B.W. ; Dougan, G. ; Parkhill, J. ; Lawley, T.D. ;
Nat Genet
Biofilm Development on Caenorhabditis elegans by Yersinia Is Facilitated by Quorum Sensing-Dependent Repression of Type III Secretion
Atkinson, S.; Goldstone, R.J.; Joshua, G.W.P.; Chang, C.Y.; Patrick, H.L.; Camara, M.; Wren, B.W.; Williams, P.
Plos Pathogens
Bacterial pathogenomics
Pallen, M.J.; Wren, B.W.
Comparative phylogenomics of the food-borne pathogen Campylobacter jejuni reveals genetic markers predictive of infection source.
Champion, O.L.; Gaunt, M.W.; Gundogdu, O.; Elmi, A.; Witney, A.A.; Hinds, J.; Dorrell, N.; Wren, B.W.;
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
N-linked glycosylation in Campylobacter jejuni and its functional transfer into E-coli
Wacker, M.; Linton, D.; Hitchen, P. G.; Nita-Lazar, M.; Haslam, S. M.; North, S. J.; Panico, M.; Morris, H. R.; Dell, A.; Wren, B. W.; Aebi, M.
Genome sequence of Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague
Parkhill, J.; Wren, B. W.; Thomson, N. R.; Titball, R. W.; Holden, M. T. G.; Prentice, M. B.; Sebaihia, M.; James, K. D.; Churcher, C.; Mungall, K. L.; Baker, S.; Basham, D.; Bentley, S. D.; Brooks, K.; Cerdeno-Tarraga, A. M.; Chillingworth, T.; Cronin, A.; Davies, R. M.; Davis, P.; Dougan, G.; Feltwell, T.; Hamlin, N.; Holroyd, S.; Jagels, K.; Karlyshev, A. V.; Leather, S.; Moule, S.; Oyston, P. C. F.; Quail, M.; Rutherford, K.; Simmonds, M.; Skelton, J.; Stevens, K.; Whitehead, S.; Barrell, B. G.
See all Professor Brendan Wren's Publications