Prof Mervyn Bibb

Project Leader
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.

Ants and antibiotics

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New way to improve antibiotic production

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JIC research describes new techniques to study protein-DNA interactions

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Q&A with Professor Mervyn Bibb

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Recent Publications

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

Thanapipatsiri A., Claesen J., Gomez-Escribano J. P., Bibb M., Thamchaipenet A. (2015)

A Streptomyces coelicolor host for the heterologous expression of Type III polyketide synthase genes

Microbial Cell Factories 14 p145

Publisher’s version: 10.1186/s12934-015-0335-0

Castro J. F., Razmilic V., Gomez-Escribano J. P., Andrews B., Asenjo J. A., Bibb M. J. (2015)

Identification and Heterologous Expression of the Chaxamycin Biosynthesis Gene Cluster from Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii.

Applied and environmental microbiology 81 p5820-31

Publisher’s version: 10.1128/AEM.01039-15

Fernández-Martínez L. T., Gomez-Escribano J. P., Bibb M. J. (2015)

A relA-dependent regulatory cascade for auto-induction of microbisporicin production in Microbispora corallina.

Molecular Microbiology 97 p502-14

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/mmi.13046

Rateb M. E., Zhai Y., Ehrner E., Rath C. M., Wang X., Tabudravu J., Ebel R., Bibb M. J., Kyeremeh K., Dorrestein P. C., Hong K., Jaspars M., Deng H. (2015)

Legonaridin, a new member of linaridin RiPP from a Ghanaian Streptomyces isolate

Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry Org. Biomol. Chem., 2015, Advance Article pOrg. Biomol. Chem., 2015, Advance Article

Publisher’s version: 10.1039/c5ob01269d

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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,

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