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Prof. J. Hinton - Research Page

Research Activities – Professor J. Hinton


Jay C. D. Hinton, B.Sc. (Kent), Ph.D. (Warwick), Stokes Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis


J Hinton

  • My research addresses the fundamental biology of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in the areas of pathogenesis and environmental stress responses. My aim is to discover new aspects of the infection biology, gene regulation and physiology of the bacterial pathogen Salmonella that are critical for survival, adaptation and disease. We are using a combination of classical microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, network science and functional genomic techniques to approach the following questions:
    • How does Salmonella co-ordinate and regulate its virulence gene expression programmes?
    • How do small RNAs fine-tune the ability of Salmonella to survive and cause infection?
  • Jay Hinton did his first degree in Microbiology at the University of Kent at Canterbury , UK , where he developed an interest in the genetics of bacterial pathogens. After graduating in 1982, Jay went on to do a PhD at the University of Warwick on the genetics of virulence factors in the plant pathogenic bacterium Erwinia (awarded in 1986). Jay did a further 4 years postdoctoral research on Erwinia at Warwick , before deciding to work on bacterial pathogens which attack humans at Oxford University .

    Jay began working in the laboratory of Chris Higgins at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford , in 1990. For several years he focused on the regulation of virulence gene expression in E. coli and Salmonella. Jay used a mixture of molecular genetics and biochemistry to discover more about the regulation of bacterial genes by the nucleoid-associated proteins H-NS and StpA. Jay became a group leader in Oxford in 1997, and switched the focus of the group to Salmonella gene expression in relation to mammalian infection.

    Jay Hinton joined the Institute of Food Research in 1999 to become Head of Molecular Microbiology. Since than, he has been using genomic approaches to discover how food poisoning bacteria cause disease. His focus has been on bacterial food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella Typhimurium, S. Enteritidis, Shigella flexneri and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).
  • Professor Hinton has played a role in the burgeoning field of bacterial functional genomics, beginning in 1997 with the publication of an important review that highlighted the importance of studying bacterial genes of “unknown function”, which he christened “FUN” genes. In 1998, Professor Hinton presented a lecture on the likely benefits of transcriptomic technologies for microbiology at a BBSRC workshop on the Prokaryotic Response to Stress. He went on to set up the DNA microarray facility at the Institute of Food Research in 1999, and lead the development of transcriptomic analysis of Salmonella and E. coli pathogens. Professor Hinton has extensive experience in using functional genomics in the context of microbial research.
  • The Hinton group published the first paper that reported transcriptomic analysis Salmonella gene expression in vitro (in PNAS in 2002) and the first paper that described global bacterial gene expression during infection of mammalian cells (Salmonella infection of macrophages in 2003), Shigella gene expression in macrophages and epithelial cells (2005) and Salmonella infection of epithelial cells (2008). In 2006, the Hinton group discovered the phenomenon of gene silencing in bacteria, which is responsible for the selective repression of genes that have been acquired by Salmonella during recent evolution.
  • Professor Hinton has an established reputation in the study of Salmonella gene regulation, stress resistance and infection biology. This is shown by his invitations to speak at the world Salmonella pathogenesis conferences, organized by the American Society for Microbiology in 2003 and 2006, the Australian Society of Microbiology conference (2006 & 2008), the 5th Pasteur Institute Infectious Diseases conference (2004) and the Gordon conference on Antibacterial Discovery (2008).

Research Personnel

Research Fellows:
Dr. C. Kröger
Dr. S. Srikumar

Postgraduate Researchers:
Mr. K. Handler
Mr. S. Sivasankaran
Ms. A. Colgan

Last updated 23 May 2012 by Microbiology (Email).