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Professor Simon Waddell


Professor Simon Waddell (BSc, PhD, FHEA)

Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis
T: +44 (0)1273 877572
Location: BSMS Medical Research Building, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9PX

Areas of expertise: Molecular bacteriology; transcriptional profiling; host-pathogen interactions; AMR

Research areas: Tuberculosis drug discovery; mycobacterial pathogenesis; TB biomarkers; Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)

Other Roles: Module lead for BSMS 404 ‘4th Year Independent Research Project’; Lab lead and deputy head of department for Global Health and Infection; Chair of the Laboratory Science Management Group

Read about the TB/NTM research team at BSMS >


Prof Simon Waddell trained in molecular microbiology at the University of Birmingham before completing a PhD in mycobacterial pathogenicity at St Georges, University of London. He then spent a stint as a postdoctoral scientist at Stanford University, US, profiling host responses to infection. He joined BSMS in 2010. His work focuses on understanding the interactions between host and pathogen, and investigating the action of anti-mycobacterial compounds through drug therapy. He has published in high impact journals such as Science, PLoS Medicine, BMC Medicine, Cell Host & Microbe, Nature Communications and Lancet Microbe, with funding from sources including BBSRC, MRC, NC3Rs, Royal Society and Wellcome Trust.

His ORCID ID is;
ResearchGate ID is
Full list of publications available at Sussex Research Online (SRO) 


The Waddell lab uses genome-wide technologies to understand mycobacterial (TB and NTM) drug action during human disease, to define bacterial populations that survive early drug therapy, and to identify the mode of action of novel anti-mycobacterial compounds. Our research also explores the interactions between host and pathogen throughout the disease process using transcriptional signatures derived from immune cells and M.tuberculosis to better explain pathogenicity and to reveal novel approaches to treatment.

Over 10 million people caught tuberculosis (TB) in 2015 and 1.8 million people died of the disease. Globally more than 2 billion people are infected with the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

The standard drug therapy for TB uses combinations of 4 drugs over 6 months. The recommended treatment for multidrug-resistant TB lasts 18–24 months or more, with increasingly toxic combinations of second-line drugs. New drug regimens are needed to maintain and improve therapy for tuberculosis, shortening treatment duration and targeting drug-resistant bacteria.


Simon teaches in Years 1-4 of the BM-BS medical degree at BSMS and contributes to the MSc in Global Health. He lectures genome biology and infectious diseases and runs student-selected components. He is module leader for BSMS 404 ‘4th Year Independent Research Project’. He is also an academic tutor. He supervises BSc project students, medical students and PhD research projects.

Selected publications

Cantillon D, Goff A, Taylor S, Salehi E, Fidler K, Stoneham S and Waddell SJ (2022). Searching for new therapeutic options for the uncommon pathogen Mycobacterium chimaera: an open drug discovery approach. Lancet Microbe; 3(5):e382-e391.

Cantillon D, Wroblewska J, Cooper I, Newport MJ, Waddell SJ (2021). Three-dimensional low shear culture of Mycobacterium bovis BCG induces biofilm formation and antimicrobial drug tolerance. npj Biofilms Microbiomes; 7 (12).

Pollo LAE, Martin EF, Machado VR, Cantillon D, Wildner LM, Bazzo ML, Waddell SJ, Biavatti MW and Sandjo LP (2021). Search for antimicrobial activity among fifty-two natural and synthetic compounds identifies anthraquinone and polyacetylene classes that inhibit Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Frontiers in Microbiol; 11:622629.

Maitra A, Evangelopoulos D, Chrzastek A, Martin LT, Hanrath A, Chapman E, Hailes HC, Lipman M, McHugh TD, Waddell SJ, Bhakta S (2020). Carprofen elicits pleiotropic mechanisms of bactericidal action with the potential to reverse antimicrobial drug resistance in tuberculosis. J Antimicrob Chemother; 75(11):3194-3201.

Bettencourt, P, et al. (2020). Identification of antigens presented by MHC for vaccines against tuberculosis. NPJ Vaccines; 5:2.

Jabbar, A, et al.  (2019). Whole genome sequencing of drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from a high burden tuberculosis region of North West Pakistan. Nature Scientific Reports; 9(1):14996.

Alqaseer, K, et al. (2019). Protein kinase B controls Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth via phosphorylation of the transcriptional regulator Lsr2 at threonine 112. Molecular Microbiology. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14398.

O'Reilly, M, et al. (2019). Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of a New Series of Carvedilol Derivatives That Protect Sensory Hair Cells from Aminoglycoside-Induced Damage by Blocking the Mechanoelectrical Transducer Channel. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry; 62(11):5312-5329. 

Wildner, L, KA Gould and SJ Waddell (2018) Transcriptional profiling Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patient sputa. In: Antibiotic Resistance Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology; 1736: 117-128. 

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