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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Piero Mastroeni

Dr Piero Mastroeni

Reader in Infection and Immunity

Areas of Interest:

- Bacterial pathogenesis and immunology

- Vaccine Development

- Antibiotics

Piero Mastroeni is accepting applications for PhD students.

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 765800


Current position.

Reader in Infection and Immunity, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, since October 2009.



1990. Doctor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Messina, Italy.

1991-94. Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Pathology and Darwin College, University of Cambridge.


Professional history.

1992-96. Ricercatore Universitario in Malattie Infettive (tenured Lectureship in Infectious Diseases), University of Messina, Italy.

1997. Research Associate at the University of Newcastle, Department of Microbiology, The Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

1997-1999. Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London, UK.

1999-2004. University Lecturer in Microbiology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.

2004-2008. University Senior Lecturer in Microbiology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.

Subject groups/Research projects

Infection and Immunity:

Immunity to bacteria, infection dynamics, vaccine development

Departments and Institutes

Cambridge Infectious Diseases:

Research Interests

Recent research in my group is focused on the study of pathogenesis and immunity to bacterial infections and on the improvement of strategies to deliver vaccines to the immune system. We concurrently run a number of multidisciplinary integrated research projects. Our past research has defined the role of cytokine networks, antibodies, phagocytes, B-cells and T-cell in host resistance to bacterial infections and has unravelled many bacterial virulence genes that counteract the immune system. This work is still evolving and has already contributed to the generation of new vaccine candidates. Recently, we have focused on understanding how individual bacteria interact with host cells in vivo and how subpopulations of microbes spread and distribute in the body. This has been achieved by novel multidisciplinary research approaches that integrate information acquired at different levels spanning from individual cells to global systems. This work has opened the possibility to comprehensively study the mechanistic bases of immune control of bacterial infections, thus opening the field to novel high impact research on improved prevention measures and medical treatments to fight infection. We are currently also delving into the interactions between the host and bacterial genome highlighting which bacterial genes play a role in counteracting specific host mechanisms. This research will lead to the identification of novel targets for vaccines and drug development. We are also exploring other new areas within infection such as the interplay between microbes and autoimmune diseases and the possibility to use recombinant bacteria as anti-cancer agents. This research may have translational outcomes in the generation of tools to modulate the course of autoimmune diseases and to destroy cancer cells in vivo. Another crucial line of research that we are actively pursuing deals with the understanding of how different cellular population and cell-surface receptors co-operate for the initiation and expansion of immune responses. This research is providing clues on what is required from bacterial vaccines to be effective and is guiding the development and testing of new vaccine preparations in human and domestic animals.

Main collaborators

  • Gordon Dougan, Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK
  • Sjef Verbeek, University of Leiden, NL
  • David Gray, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Anne Cooke, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Anjam Khan, University of Newcastle, UK


  • Immunology
  • Innate Immunity
  • Infection
  • Disease resistance
  • Macrophanges

Key Publications

  • Vazquez-Torres, A., Y. Xu, J. Jones-Carson, D. W. Holden, S. M. Lucia, M. C. Dinauer, Pietro Mastroeni and F. C. Fang (2000). Salmonella pathogenicity island 2-dependent evasion of the phagocyte NADPH oxidase. Science 287(5458): 1655-8. [PubMed]
  • Vazquez-Torres, A., J. Jones-Carson, Pietro Mastroeni, H. Ischiropoulos and F. C. Fang (2000). Antimicrobial actions of the NADPH phagocyte oxidase and inducible nitric oxide synthase in experimental salmonellosis. I. Effects on microbial killing by activated peritoneal macrophages in vitro. J Exp Med 192(2): 227-36. [PubMed]
  • Brown, S. P., S. J. Cornell, M. Sheppard, A. J. Grant, D. J. Maskell, B. T. Grenfell and Pietro Mastroeni (2006). Intracellular demography and the dynamics of Salmonella enterica infections. PLoS Biol 4(11): e349. [PubMed]
  • Menager, N., G. Foster, S. Ugrinovic, H. Uppington, S. Verbeek and P. Mastroeni (2007). Fcgamma receptors are crucial for the expression of acquired resistance to virulent Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in vivo but are not required for the induction of humoral or T-cell-mediated immunity. Immunology 120(3): 424-32. [PubMed]
  • Foster, G. L., T. A. Barr, A. J. Grant, T. J. McKinley, C. E. Bryant, A. MacDonald, D. Gray, M. Yamamoto, S. Akira, D. J. Maskell and Pietro Mastroeni (2008). Virulent Salmonella enterica infections can be exacerbated by concomitant infection of the host with a live attenuated S. enterica vaccine via Toll-like receptor 4-dependent interleukin-10 production with the involvement of both TRIF and MyD88. Immunology 124(4): 469-79. [PubMed]
  • Grant, A. J., O. Restif, T. J. McKinley, M. Sheppard, D. J. Maskell and Pietro Mastroeni (2008). Modelling within-host spatiotemporal dynamics of invasive bacterial disease. PLoS Biol 6(4): e74. [PubMed]
  • Barr, T. A., S. Brown, Pietro Mastroeni and D. Gray (2009). B cell intrinsic MyD88 signals drive IFN-gamma production from T cells and control switching to IgG2c. J Immunol 183(2): 1005-12. [PubMed]
  • Mastroeni, P., A. Grant, O. Restif and D. Maskell (2009). A dynamic view of the spread and intracellular distribution of Salmonella enterica. Nat Rev Microbiol 7(1): 73-80. [PubMed]
  • E. Gondwe, M. Molyneux, M. Drayson, S. Graham, Pietro Mastroeni, C. MacLennan. Importance of antibody and complement for oxidative burst and blood cell killing of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella in Africans. PNAS. 2010; 107: 3070-3075. [PubMed]
  • T. Barr, S. Brown, Pietro Mastroeni*, D. Gray*. *Joint senior authors.TLR and BCR signals to B cells differentially programme primary and memory Th1 responses to Salmonella enterica. J. Immunol., 2010; 185: 2783-2789. [PubMed]
  • C. Janis, A. Grant, T. McKinley, F. Morgan, V. John, J. Houghton, R. Kingseley, G. Dougan, Pietro Mastroeni. In vivo regulation of the antigen Vi in Salmonella and induction of immune responses with an in vivo inducible promoter. Infect. Immun. Spotlight Article, 2011; 79: 2481-2488. [PubMed]
  • S. Newland, J. Phillips, Pietro Mastroeni, M. Azuma, P. Zaccone, A. Cooke. PD-L1 blockade overrides Salmonella Typhimurium-mediated diabetes prevention in NOD mice: No role for Tregs. Eur. J. Immunol. 2011 Jul 26. doi: 10.1002/eji.201141544. [PubMed]
  • Y. Goh, O. Restif, T. McKinley, K. Armour, A. Grant, M. Clark, Pietro Mastroeni. Human IgG isotypes and activating Fcgamma receptors in the interaction of S. Typhimurium with phagocytic cells.Immunology. 2011; 133:74-83. [PubMed]
  • A. Jansen, L. Hall, S. Clare, D. Goulding, K. Holt, A. Grant, Pietro Mastroeni, G. Dougan, R. Kingsley. A Salmonella Typhimurium-Typhi genomic chimera: a model to study Vi polysaccharide capsule function in vivo.  Plos Pathogens, 2011; 7:e1002131.
  • D. Bulmer, L. Kharraz, A. Grant, P. Dean, F. Morgan, M. Karavolos, A. Doble, E. McGhie, V. Koronakis, R. Daniel, Pietro Mastroeni, A. Khan.The bacterial cytoskeleton modulates motility, type 3 secretion, and colonization in Salmonella. PLoS Pathog. 2012 Jan;8(1):e1002500.
  • A. Grant, F. Morgan, T. McKinley, G. Foster, D. Maskell, Pietro Mastroeni. The interplay between Type III secretion systems and the host phagocyte NADPH oxidase controls the spread of Salmonella in the spleen and liver.  PLoS Pathog 2013 8(12): e1003070.
  • Dynamics of spread of Salmonella enterica in the systemic compartment. Pietro Mastroeni, A. Grant. Microbes and Infection, 2013; 15:849-857.