Prof Mark Banfield

Head of Department
Biological Chemistry

The Banfield Lab addresses fundamental questions in pathogen-host interactions at the molecular level. A long-standing interest of the group is the study of structure/function relationships in effector proteins from pathogens of mammals and plants. Effector proteins are molecules secreted from pathogens that either localize outside of or are translocated into host cells where they act to promote pathogen colonization. 

We also study the host side of plant immunity, or how plants respond to pathogens. Through the use of biochemical, biophysical and structural studies, we form hypotheses that are then tested in more in vivo settings. Ultimately, in addition to making fundamental discoveries concerning mechanisms of pathogen virulence, many of our studies are aimed at engineering plants to better resist infection by pathogens, improving performance in agriculture with a reduced need for chemical interventions.

We benefit from close links with colleagues at The Sainsbury Laboratory on the Norwich Research Park.

We also investigate the molecular basis of host cell adhesion mediated by internal thioester bonds, highly unusual protein cross-links we discovered in pili from gram-positive pathogens of mammals. 


Tel: 01603 450742

Gold award for colon cancer biology team

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How plant sensors detect pathogens

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Bacteria use chemical harpoons to hold on tight to their hosts

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Dr Mark Banfield awarded tenure

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Recent Publications

Di X., Cao L., Hughes R. K., Tintor N., Banfield M. J., Takken F. L. W. (2017)

Structure-function analysis of the Fusarium oxysporum Avr2 effector allows uncoupling of its immune-suppressing activity from recognition

New Phytologist -- p--

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/nph.14733

Franceschetti M., Maqbool A., Maximiliano Jimenez Dalmaroni M. J., Pennington H. G., Kamoun S., Banfield M. J. (2017)

Effectors of Filamentous Plant Pathogens: Commonalities amid Diversity.

Microbiology & Molecular Biology Reviews 81 p1-17

Publisher’s version: 10.1128/MMBR.00066-16

Varden F. A., De la Concepcion J. C., Maidment J. H., Banfield M. J. (2017)

Taking the stage: effectors in the spotlight.

Current Opinion in Plant Biology 38 p25-33

Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.04.013

Jones J. D., Banfield M. J. (2017)

Two-faced TIRs trip the immune switch.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 p2445-2446

Publisher’s version: 10.1073/pnas.1700954114

Maqbool A., Hughes R. K., Dagdas Y. F., Tregidgo N., Zess E., Belhaj K., Round A., Bozkurt T. O., Kamoun S., Banfield M. J. (2016)

Structural basis of host Autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) binding by the Irish potato famine pathogen effector protein PexRD54.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 291 p20270-82

Publisher’s version: 10.1074/jbc.M116.744995

View All

Mark Banfield

  • Dr Richard Hughes Research Assistant
  • Dr Marina Franceschetti Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Abbas Maqbool Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Maximiliano Jimenez Dalmaroni Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Dr Sebastian Eves-van Den Akker Visiting Worker
  • Freya Varden Postgraduate Student
  • Josephine Maidment Postgraduate Student
  • Juan De La Concepcion Postgraduate Student
  • Hannah Langlands Lab Attendant
  • Sarah Tolland Departmental Administrator


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