Staphylococcus aureus

Programme Leader: Dr David Wyllie

Electron micrograph of Staphylococcus aureus
Electron micrograph of Staphylococcus aureus (NIAID)


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most important human pathogens, of which MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) species are resistant variants.

Common disease manifestations include skin abscesses (boils), with less common but more serious disease including wound infections (sometimes after surgery), bone infections, joint infections (septic arthritis), heart infection (endocarditis). Disease is caused both in the community, and in hospitals, where it is estimated that about half of all infections are due to Staphylococcus aureus.

The organism is also found in farm animals, including cows.

Research aim: S. aureus vaccines for both animal and human use

Technology developed in the Jenner Institute allows us to generate potent immune responses against a wide range of antigens, including those from S. aureus. These immune responses include both antibody generation, and the production of T cells; recent data suggests T cell action, as well as the induction of antibodies, may be very important in S. aureus protection. We are working to develop S. aureus vaccines eliciting both these types of responses, using vectored vaccines.

Group members

Dr David Wyllie, Programme Leader

Elizabeth Allen, Research Assistant

Amy Flaxman, Research Assistant

Pauline van Diemen, Snr Immunologist

Claudia Lindemann, DPhil Student

Yuko Yamaguchi, Postdoctoral Immunologist

Key Publications

Wyllie DH, Paul J, Crook DW. Waves of Trouble: MRSA strain dynamics and the assessment of impact of infection control. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2011, in press. Wyllie DH, Walker AS, Miller R et al. Decline of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Oxfordshire hospitals is strain specific and preceded infection control intensification. BMJ Open 2011;1:e000160. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-00016.

Miller R, Walker AS, Knox K, Wyllie D, Paul J, Haworth E, Mant D, Peto T, Crook DW. 'Feral' and 'wild'-type methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the United Kingdom. Epidemiol Infect. 2010 May;138(5):655-65.

Walker S, Peto TE, O'Connor L, Crook DW, Wyllie D. Are there better methods of monitoring MRSA control than bacteraemia surveillance? An observational database study. PLoS One. 2008 Jun 11;3(6):e2378.

Miller R, Esmail H, Peto T, Walker S, Crook D, Wyllie D. Is MRSA admission bacteraemia community-acquired? A case control study. J Infect. 2008 Mar;56(3):163-70.

Wyllie DH, Walker AS, Peto TE, Crook DW. Hospital exposure in a UK population, and its association with bacteraemia. J Hosp Infect. 2007 Dec;67(4):301-7.

Wyllie DH, Crook DW, Peto TE. Mortality after Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in two hospitals in Oxfordshire, 1997-2003: cohort study. BMJ. 2006 Aug 5;333(7562):281. Erratum in: BMJ 2006 Sep 2;333(7566):468.

Wyllie DH, Peto TE, Crook D. MRSA bacteraemia in patients on arrival in hospital: a cohort study in Oxfordshire 1997-2003. BMJ. 2005 Oct 29;331(7523):992.