Research Profile

Dr Alexandra
Woodacre

Lecturer in Molecular Bioscience

Faculty of Health and Society

  • Alex began her career studying Microbiology at the University of Leeds, including a year’s work experience placement at the Public Health Laboratory Service in Preston, and graduated in 2003. She took a PhD position at the University of Leicester to study transcriptional regulation in the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans, and after her PhD was awarded she remained at Leicester in a variety of postdoctoral research positions including working on phase variation in the infectious bacteria Campylobacter jejuni and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Alex joined the University of Northampton as a Lecturer in 2017.

  • Alex is module leader for the following BSc Human Biosciences and BSc Biology modules:

    • SLS1009 Introduction to Microbiology
    • SLS3011 Pathogen Biology
  • Alex’s research focuses on how infectious bacteria respond to changes in their environment and how this affects their ability to grow and cause disease in humans. She is interested in the very different responses of Campylobacter jejuni during colonisation of the chicken gut and of Streptococcus pneumoniae in the human lungs and bloodstream. These organisms are leading causes of gastroenteritis and pneumonia respectively, contributing to extremely high levels of disease and mortality worldwide.

    Current projects:

    • Tolerance of oxidative stress in Streptococcus pneumoniae: Transcriptional responses and novel mechanisms. Collaborators: Dr Julie Morrissey (University of Leicester), Dr Andrew Ulijasz (Loyola University, Chicago, USA), Dr Kevin Waldron (University of Newcastle)
    • Investigating the effects of increased levels of haem in Sickle Cell Disease and malaria on iron homeostasis in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Collaborator: Dr Julie Morrissey (University of Leicester)
    • Characterisation of Campylobacter lipooligosaccharides: genetic variation, biosynthesis and association with disease. Collaborators: Amber Hameed (PhD student), Dr Lee Machado & Dr Gemma Marsden (University of Northampton)
    • Campylobacter phase variation and its impact on immunity and vaccine development. Collaborators: Dr Chris Bayliss (University of Leicester), Dr Mike Jones & Dr Michael Tretyakov (University of Nottingham)
    • Lango-Scholey L., Aidley J., Woodacre A., Jones M.A., Bayliss C.D. (2016) High Throughput Method for Analysis of Repeat Number for 28 Phase Variable Loci of Campylobacter jejuni Strain NCTC11168. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159634. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159634
    • Woodacre, A., Lone, M. A., Jablonowski, D., Schneiter, R., Giorgini, F., Schaffrath, R. (2013) A novel Sit4 phosphatase complex is involved in the response to ceramide stress in yeast. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Article ID 129645, doi:10.1155/2013/129645.
    • Jeeves, R.E., Mason, R.P, Woodacre, A., Cashmore, A.M. (2011) Ferric reductase genes involved in high affinity iron uptake are differentially regulated in yeast and hyphae of Candida albicans. Yeast, 28, 629-644.
    • Woodacre, A., Mason, R.P., Jeeves, R.E., Cashmore, A. M., (2008) Copper-dependent transcriptional regulation by Candida albicans Mac1p. Microbiology, 154, 1502-1512.