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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Pathogenesis, immunobiology, prevention and treatment of bacterial infections

My current research develops and applies multidisciplinary approaches to unravel the links between in vivo pathogen behaviour (location, division, death, gene regulation and spread), immunity, immunoevasion and the efficacy of vaccines and antibiotics. We are currently extending our research to development of new vaccines against bacterial septicaemic diseases.




  • 2017. Doctor of Science (ScD), Darwin College, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 1994. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Department of Pathology and Darwin College, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 1990. Abilitazione Professionale (fitness to practice award) for Medicine and Surgery, University of Messina, Italy.
  • 1990. Doctor of Medicine and Surgery (MD) at the University of Messina, Italy.

Election to professional/scientific bodies

  • Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (FAAM) 
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) 
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) 


  • Member of Darwin College, Cambridge. 
  • Member of the American Society for Microbiology
  • Member of the British Society for Immunology (BSI). 
  • Member of the BSI Vaccine Affinity Group.
  • Honorary researcher at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Since May 2006.
  • Honorary member of The Cuban Society for Immunology. Since 2002.
  • Member of the Association of Italian Scientists in the UK.

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.
  • 2008-2021. University Reader in Infection and Immunity


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. More 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. Current research in collaboration with industry is also aimed at developing new vaccines against septicaemic diseases 


Key publications: 

Salmonella Paratyphi A outer membrane vesicles displaying Vi polysaccharide as a multivalent vaccine against enteric fever. G. Gasperini, R. Alfini, V. Arato, F. Mancini, M.  Aruta, P. Kanvatirth, D. Pickard, F. Necchi, A. Saul, O. RossiF. Micoli and P. Mastroeni. Infect Immun 2021doi: 10.1128/IAI.00699-20

 Modifying bacterial flagellin to evade Nod-like Receptor CARD 4 recognition enhances protective immunity against Salmonella P. Tourlomousis, J. Wright, A. Bittante, L. Hopkins, S. Webster, O. Bryant, Pietro Mastroeni, D. Maskell, C. Bryant. Nature Microbiology. 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41564-020-00801-y

Within-host spatiotemporal dynamic of systemic salmonellosis: ways to track infection, reaction to vaccination and antimicrobial treatment. Review. O. Rossi, M. Vlazaki, P. Kanvatirth, O. Restif, Pietro Mastroeni. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2020.106008

 A data-based mathematical modelling study to quantify the effects of ciprofloxacin and ampicillin on the within-host dynamics of Salmonella enterica during treatment and relapse. M. Vlazaki, O. Rossi, D. Price, C. McLean,A. Grant, Pietro Mastroeni, O. Restif. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 2020; 168: 20200299. doi:10.1098/rsif.2020.0299

Antibodies and protection in systemic Salmonella infections: do we still have more questions than answers? Review. Pietro Mastroeni, O. Rossi. Infection and Immunity. 2020; doi: 10.1128/IAI.00219-20.

The dual role of splenic mononuclear and polymorphonuclear cells in the outcome of ciprofloxacin treatment of Salmonella enterica infections. P. Kanvatirth, O. Rossi, O. Restif, B. Blacklaws, P.  Tonks, A. Grant, Pietro MastroeniJ. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2020; doi:10.1093/jac/dkaa249 

 The rK39 Antigen from an Iranian Strain of Leishmania infantum: Detection of Anti-Leishmania Antibodies in Humans and Dogs. B.Hosseini Farash , M. Mohebali, B. Kazemi, H. Hajjaran, A. Fata, R. Raoofian, B. Akhoundi, M. Mojarrad, Pietro Mastroeni, M. Sharifi-Yazdi, M. Tanipour. Iran. J. Parasitol. 2020; 15:48-56.

Changes in the epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Northeastern Iran. Review. B. Hosseini Farash, S. Shamsian, M. Mohajery, A. Fata, F. Sadabadi, F. Berenji, Pietro Mastroeni, E. Poustchi, E. Moghaddas. Turkish Journal of Parasitology, 2020; 44(1):52-7; doi: 10.4274/tpd.galenos.2019.6137

Fish tank granuloma: an emerging skin disease in Iran mimicking cutaneous leishmaniasis. A. Fata, A. Bojdy,, M. Maleki, B. Hosseini Farash, K. Ghazvin, P. Tajzadeh, V. Vakili, E. Moghaddas, Pietro Mastroeni, S. Rahmani. PloS One, 2019;

The essential role of complement in antibody-mediated resistance to Salmonella. O. Rossi, C. Coward, Y.S. Goh, J. Claassens, C. MacLennan, S. Verbeek, Pietro Mastroeni. Immunology 2019; 156:69-73.

Comparative immunogenicity and efficacy of equivalent outer membrane vesicle and glycoconjugate vaccines against nontyphoidal Salmonella.  F. Micoli, S. Rondini, R. Alfini, L. Lanzilao, F. Necchi, A. Negrea, O. Rossi, C. Brandt, S. Clare, Pietro Mastroeni, R. Rappuoli, A. Saul, C. MacLennan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) 2018; 115:10428-10433. 

A Restricted Role of FcγR in the Regulation of Adaptive Immunity. M. Fransen, W. van Maren, H. Benonisson, H.Sow, C. Breukel, M. Linssen, J. Claassens, C. Brouwers, J. van der Kaa, M. Camps, J. Kleinovink, K. Vonk, S. van Heiningen, N. Klar, N. Ho, L. van Beek, V. van Harmelen, L. Daxinger, K. Nandakumar, R. Holmdahl, C. Coward, Q. Lin, S. Hirose, D. Salvatori, T. van Hall, C. van Kooten, Pietro Mastroeni, F. Ossendorp, S.Verbeek.J. Immunol. 2018; pii: ji1700429. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1700429.

Expression of Siglec-E alters the phenotype of macrophages but does not affect LPS driven cytokine production or TLR4 endocytosis.  M. Nagala , E. McKenzie , H. Richards, R. Sharma, S. Thomson, Pietro Mastroeni. P. Crocker. Frontiers in Immunol. 2017; doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01926. eCollection 2017.

An efficient moments-based inference method for within-host bacterial infection dynamics. D. Price, A. Breuze, Pietro Mastroeni, R. Dybowski, O. Restif. PloS Computational Biology 2017; 13(11): e1005841.

Transcriptome and proteome analysis of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Infection of wild type C57BL/6 and immunodeficient gp91-/-phox mice. O. Oshota, M. Fookes, F. Schreiber, R.Chaudhuri, L. Yu, F. Morgan, S. Clare, J. Choudhary, N. Thomson, D. Maskell, Pietro Mastroeni, A. Grant. Plos One 2017; 12(8):e0181365. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181365.

Within-host spatiotemporal dynamics of systemic Salmonella infection during and after antimicrobial treatment. O. Rossi, R. Dybowski, D. Maskell, A. Grant, O. Restif, Pietro MastroeniJ. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2017; 72: 3390-97.

Cytotoxicity against tumor cell lines and anti-inflammatory properties of chitinases from Calotropis procera latex. C. Viana, M. V. Ramos, J. Barreto Marinho Filho, L. Lotufo, I. Figueiredo, J. Soares de Oliveira, Pietro Mastroeni, J. Lima-filho, N. Alencar. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology 2017; 390:1005-1013.

Inferring within-host bottleneck size: a Bayesian approach. R. Dybowski, O. Restif, D. Price, Pietro Mastroeni.Journal of Theoretical Biology 2017; 435:218-228. 

Identification and characterisation of a protein involved in Campylobacter jejuni cell shape. D. Esson, S. Gupta, D. Bailey, P. Wigley, A. Wedley, A. Mather, G. Méric, Pietro Mastroeni, S. Sheppard, N. Thomson, J. Parkhill, D. Maskell, G. Christie, A. Grant. Microb. Pathogen. 2017; 104:202-211.

Effect of in vivo neutralisation of Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha on the efficacy of antibiotic treatment in systemic Salmonella enterica infections. O. Rossi, A. Grant, Pietro MastroeniPathogen. Dis. 2017; doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftx002.

Plant lectins ConBr and CFL modulate expression of toll-like receptors besides pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduce the bacterial burden within macrophages infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. J. Batista, M. Ralph, P. Souza, M. Ramos, Pietro. Mastroeni, J. Lima-Filho. Phytomedicine 2017; 25:52-60.

Immunological basis of increased susceptibility to invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella infection in children with malaria and anaemia. Review. T. Nyirenda, W. Mandala, M. Gordon, Pietro MastroeniMicrobes and Infection 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2017.11.014.

Genomic variations leading to alterations in cell morphology of Campylobacter spp. D. Esson, A. Mather, E. Scanlan, S. Gupta, S. de Vries, D. Bailey, S. Harris, T. McKinley, G. Méric, S. Berry, Pietro Mastroeni, S. Sheppard, G. Christie, N. Thomson, J. Parkhill, D. Maskell, A. Grant. Scientific Reports 2016; doi: 10.1038/srep38303.

IgG subclasses targeting the flagella of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium can mediate phagocytosis and bacterial killing. Y. S. Goh, K. Armour, M. Clark, A. Grant, Pietro MastroeniJournal of Vaccines and Vaccination 2016; 7: pii:322.

Genes required for the fitness of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium during infection of immunodeficient gp91-/-phox mice. A. Grant, O. Oshota, R. Chaudhuri, M. Mayho, S. Peters, S. Clare, D. Maskell, Pietro MastroeniInfect. Immun. 2016; 84: 989-997.

Immunology, epidemiology and mathematical modelling towards a better understanding of invasive non-typhoidalSalmonella disease and rational vaccination approaches. Review. Pietro Mastroeni, O. Rossi. Expert Reviews of Vaccines 2016; doi:10.1080/14760584.2016.1189330.

Single passage in mouse organs enhances the survival and spread of Salmonella enterica. R. Dybowski, O. Restif, D. Maskell, Pietro Mastroeni, A. Grant. Royal Society Interface 2015; 12: 20150702. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0702.

TARM1 is a novel leukocyte receptor complex-encoded ITAM receptor that costimulates proinflammatory cytokine secretion by macrophages and neutrophils. V. Radjabova, Pietro Mastroeni, K. Skjodt, P. Zaccone, B. de Bono, J Goodall, E.  Chilvers, J. Juss, D. Jones, J. Trowsdale, A. Barrow. J.  Immunol. 2015; 195:3149-3159.

Monoclonal antibodies of diverse isotype induced by an O-antigen glycoconjugate vaccine mediate in vitro and in vivo killing of African invasive nontyphoidal SalmonellaY.S. Goh, S. Clare, F. Micoli, A. Saul, Pietro Mastroeni, C. MacLennan. Infect. Immun. 2015; 83:3722-3731.

Design of glycoconjugate vaccines against invasive African S. Typhimurium. S. Rondini, F. Micoli, L. Lanzilao, M. Gavini, Pietro Mastroeni, C. Brandt, A. Saul, C. MacLennan.  Infect. Immun. 2015; 83:996-1007.

The effects of vaccination and immunity on bacterial infection dynamics in vivo. C. Coward, O. Restif, R. Dybowski, A. Grant, D. Maskell, Pietro MastroeniPLoS Pathog. 2014; 10(9):e1004359.

Nested sampling for Bayesian model comparison in the context of Salmonella disease dynamics. R. Dybowski, T. McKinley, Pietro Mastroeni, O. Restif. PLoS one 2013; 8(12):e82317.

Enhanced susceptibility to Citrobacter rodentium infection in miR-155- deficient mice. S. Clare, V. John, A. Walker, J. Hill, C. Abreu-Goodger, C. Hale, D. Goulding, T. Lawley, Pietro Mastroeni, G. Frankel, A. Enright, E. Vigorito, G. Dougan. Infect. Immun. 2013; 81: 723-732.

Dynamics of spread of Salmonella enterica in the systemic compartment. Review. Pietro Mastroeni, A. Grant. Microbes and Infection 2013; 15:849-857.

Attenuated Salmonella Typhimurium lacking the pathogenicity island-2 type 3 secretion system grow to high bacterial numbers inside phagocytes in mice. A. Grant, F. Morgan, T. McKinley, G. Foster, D. Maskell, Pietro MastroeniPLoS Pathog. 2012; 8: e1003070.

Quantification of the effects of antibodies on the extra- and intracellular dynamics of Salmonella enterica. O. Restif, Y. Goh, M. Palayret, A. Grant, T. McKinley, J. Gog, Pietro MastroeniJ. R. Soc. Interface 2013; 10: 20120866.

Dynamics of Salmonella infection of macrophages at the single cell level. J. Gog, A. Murcia, N. Osterman, O. Restif, T. McKinley, M. Sheppard, S. Achouri, B. Wei, Pietro Mastroeni, J. Wood, D. Maskell, P. Cicuta, C. Bryant. J. R. Soc. Interface 2012; 9: 2696-2707.

The bacterial cytoskeleton modulates motility, type 3 secretion, and colonization in Salmonella. D. Bulmer, L. Kharraz, A. Grant, P. Dean, F. Morgan, M. Karavolos, A. Doble, E. McGhie, V. Koronakis, R. Daniel, Pietro Mastroeni, A. Khan. PLoS Pathog. 2012; 8: e1002500.

Salmonella Typhimurium-Typhi genomic chimera: a model to study Vi polysaccharide capsule function in vivo. A. Jansen, L. Hall, S. Clare, D. Goulding, K. Holt, A. Grant, Pietro Mastroeni, G. Dougan, R. Kingsley. Plos Pathogens, 2011; 7:e1002131.

PD-L1 blockade overrides Salmonella Typhimurium-mediated diabetes prevention in NOD mice: No role for Tregs. S. Newland, J. Phillips, Pietro Mastroeni, M. Azuma, P. Zaccone, A. Cooke. Eur. J. Immunol. 2011; 41:2966-2976.

In vivo regulation of the antigen Vi in Salmonella and induction of immune responses with an in vivo inducible promoter. C. Janis, A. Grant, T. McKinley, F. Morgan, V. John, J. Houghton, R. Kingseley, G. Dougan, Pietro MastroeniInfect. Immun. Spotlight Article 2011; 79: 2481-2488.

The spread of Salmonella in the body: systems-based approaches to unravel host and pathogen determinants. Review.  Pietro Mastroeni, A. Grant. Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine 2011;13:e12.

Human IgG isotypes and activating Fcgamma receptors in the interaction of S. Typhimurium with phagocytic cells. Y.S. Goh, O. Restif, T. McKinley, K. Armour, A. Grant, M. Clark, Pietro MastroeniImmunology 2011; 133:74-83.

Enhanced virulence of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium after passage through mice. Pietro Mastroeni, F. Morgan, T. McKinley, G. Foster, E. Shawcroft, S. Clare, D. Maskell, A. Grant.Infect. Immun. 2011; 79:636-643.

Anaesthetic impairment of immune function is mediated via GABAreceptors. D. Wheeler, A. Thompson, F. Corletto, J. Reckless, J. Loke, N. Lapaque, A. Grant, Pietro Mastroeni, D. Grainger, C. Padgett, J. O’Brien, N. Miller, J. Trowsdale, S. Lummis, D. Menon, J. Beech. PloS One. 2011; 6: e17152

 Immunity to salmonellosis. G. Dougan, V. John, Pietro MastroeniImmunological Reviews 2011; 240: 196-210.

Copper homeostasis in Salmonella is atypical: contribution to survival inside macrophages. D. Osman, K. Waldron, H. Denton, C. Taylor, A. Grant, Pietro Mastroeni, N. Robinson J. Cavet. J. Biol. Chem. 2010; 285: 25259-25268.

TLR and B cell receptor signals to B cells differentially programme primary and memory Th1 responses to Salmonella enterica. T. Barr, S. Brown, Pietro Mastroeni*, D. Gray*.  *Joint senior authorsJ. Immunol. 2010; 185: 2783-2789.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium mutants completely lacking the F0F1 ATPase are novel live attenuated vaccine strains. H. Northen, G. Paterson, F. Constantino-Casas, C. Bryant, S. Clare, Pietro Mastroeni, S. Peters, D. Maskell. Vaccine. 2010; 28: 940-949.

Importance of antibody and complement for oxidative burst and blood cell killing of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella in Africans. E. Gondwe, M. Molyneux, M. Drayson, S. Graham, Pietro Mastroeni, C.  MacLennan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) 2010; 107: 3070-3075.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium trxA mutants are protective against virulent challenge but induce less inflammation than the live-attenuated vaccine strain SL3261. S. Peters, G. Paterson, E. Bandularatne, H. Northen, S. Pleasance, C. Willers, J. Wang, A. Foote, F. Constantino-Casas, T. Scase, B. Blacklaws, C. Bryant, Pietro Mastroeni, I. Charles, D. Maskell. Infect. Immun. 2010; 78: 326-336.









Teaching and Supervisions


I teach and examine in part I and part II courses at the University of Cambridge and have taught specialistic courses on immunology and microbiology and vaccine development overseas.

Dr Piero  Mastroeni
Professor of Infection and Immunity

Contact Details

Email address: 
+44 (0)1223 765800
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy


Local Affiliations: 
Person keywords: 
Innate Immunity
Disease resistance