Prof Mervyn Bibb

Emeritus Fellow
Molecular Microbiology

The acquisition of antibiotic resistance, and frequently of multi-drug resistance, by a broad range of bacterial pathogens has led to an urgent need for new clinically useful antibiotics.

Mervyn Bibb’s research focuses on understanding antibiotic production and its regulation in actinomycetes, the major source of clinically useful antibiotics.

The resulting knowledge is used not only to understand how these complex molecules are made, but also to engineer the producing organisms using synthetic biology to make potentially improved derivatives.

Genome sequencing has revealed that actinomycetes have the potential to produce many more natural products than previously thought, many of which are likely to possess anti-microbial activity; work in his group also focuses on the activation of these silent biosynthetic gene clusters, which has led to the discovery of novel compounds with anti-bacterial activity.

Work in his group led to the formation of two JIC spin-out companies, Novacta Biosystems and Procarta Biosystems, of which he is co-founder.

Prof Mervyn Bibb receives accolade for academic excellence

read more

Prof Mervyn Bibb receives accolade for academic excellence

read more

Ants and antibiotics

read more

New way to improve antibiotic production

read more

Recent Publications

Widdick D., Royer S. F., Wang H., Vior N. M., Gomez-Escribano J. P., Davis B. G., Bibb M. J. (2018)

Analysis of the tunicamycin biosynthetic gene cluster of Streptomyces chartreusis reveals new insights into tunicamycin production and immunity

Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. On-line

Publisher’s version: 10.1128/AAC.00130-18

Castro J. F., Razmilic V., Gomez-Escribano J. P., Andrews B., Asenjo J., Bibb M. (2018)

The 'gifted' actinomycete Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Publisher’s version: 10.1007/s10482-018-1034-8

O'Rourke S., Widdick D., Bibb M. (2016)

A novel mechanism of immunity controls the onset of cinnamycin biosynthesis in Streptomyces cinnamoneus DSM 40646.

Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 44 p563-572

Publisher’s version: 10.1007/s10295-016-1869-9

Thanapipatsiri A., Gomez-Escribano J. P., Song L., Bibb M. J., Al-Bassam M., Chandra G., Thamchaipenet A., Challis G., Bibb M. J. (2016)

Discovery of Unusual Biaryl Polyketides by Activation of a Silent Streptomyces venezuelae Biosynthetic Gene Cluster

ChemBioChem 17 p1-11

Publisher’s version: 10.1002/cbic.201600396

Gomez-Escribano J. P., Alt S., Bibb M. J. (2016)

Next Generation Sequencing of Actinobacteria for the Discovery of Novel Natural Products.

Marine Drugs 14 p78

Publisher’s version: 10.3390/md14040078

View All

Mervyn Bibb

  • Dr Govind Chandra Senior Scientist
  • Dr Juan-Pablo Gomez-Escribano Research Assistant
  • Dr Neil Holmes Visiting Worker
  • Dr David Widdick Postdoctoral Scientist


Fellow of the Royal Society, 2013

Heatley Medal and Prize, 2013


For media enquiries, please contact the JIC communications team 01603 450962,

JIC Cookie Policy. We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies. You can find out more about the cookies by clicking here.

Accept cookies