The Peacock Group
Sharon Peacock CBE FMedSci is Professor of Public Health and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine, and Executive Director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium. Sharon is also a non-executive director on the Board of the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She has published over 500 peer-reviewed papers, has raised around £60 million pounds in research funding as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI, and has trained numerous scientists in the UK and elsewhere. Sharon is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology. She is an elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). In 2015, Sharon received a CBE for services to medical microbiology, and in 2018 she won the Unilever Colworth Prize for her outstanding contribution to translational microbiology.
All members of the Peacock Group have been involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including extensive support of COG-UK. Members of the group have leadership roles in the COG-UK Consortium and supporting the delivery of the current strategic objectives: data linkage and analysis; research to public health impact; and global training in SARS-CoV-2 sequencing. More information about individual research group members and their science expertise can be found here: https://professorsharonpeacock.co.uk.
As a group, we want to make it increasingly feasible for routine microbiology laboratories to undertake whole genome sequencing. We develop methods to support the proactive use of sequencing on pathogens associated with hospital acquired infections (such as MRSA) to provide rapid detection or exclusion of bacterial transmission and so support outbreak investigations. We are also developing methods to predict antibiotic resistance and detect genes that code for virulence factors such as toxins. Our work includes a focus on cost effectiveness in an NHS setting.
We also undertake research on the biological basis of human carriage of the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, supported by funding from a Wellcome Collaborative Award. Around 20% of people are persistent carriers of this bacterium, which increases their risk of S. aureus infection. Why some people carry this while others never do is not understood and is being addressed through the CARRIAGE study. After screening 20,000 people with nasal swabs to determine whether they are S. aureus carriers, their genomes and a range of other information is being analysed to identify associations with carrier status. This programme is managed by Dr Ewan Harrison (Wellcome Sanger Institute & University of Cambridge).
- Ludden C, Coll F, Gouliouris T, Restif O, Blane B, Blackwell GA, Kumar N, Naydenova P, Crawley C, Brown NM, Parkhill J,Peacock SJ. Defining nosocomial transmission of Escherichia coli and antimicrobial resistance genes a genomic surveillance study. Lancet 2021;2(9):e472-e480. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8410606/pdf/main.pdf
- Gouliouris T, Coll F, Ludden C, Blane B, Raven KE, Naydenova P, Crawley C, Török ME, Enoch DA, Brown NM, Harrison EM, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. Quantifying acquisition and transmission ofEnterococcus faecium using genomic surveillance. Nat Microbiol. 2021;6(1):103-111. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610418/pdf/EMS118380.pdf
- Coll F, Raven KE, Knight GM, Blane B, Harrison EM, Leek D, Enoch D, Brown NM, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. Definition of a genetic relatedness cut-off to exclude recent transmission of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a genomic epidemiology analysis. Lancet Microbe. 2020;1(8):e328-e335. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7721685/pdf/main.pdf
- Meredith LW, Hamilton WL, Warne B, Houldcroft CJ, Hosmillo M, Jahun AS, Curran MD, Parmar S, Caller LG, Caddy SL, Khokhar FA, Yakovleva A, Hall G, Feltwell T, Forrest S, Sridhar S, Weekes MP, Baker S, Brown N, Moore E, Popay A, Roddick I, Reacher M, Gouliouris T, Peacock SJ, Dougan G, Török ME, Goodfellow I. Rapid implementation of real-time SARS-CoV-2 sequencing to investigate healthcare-associated COVID-19 infections. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(11):1263-1272.https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S1473-3099%2820%2930562-4
- Hamilton WL, Tonkin-Hill G, Smith E, Houldcroft C, Warne B, Meredith L, Hosmillo M, Jahun AS, Curran MD, Parmar S, Caller LG, Caddy SL, Khokhar FA, Yakovleva A, Hall G, Feltwell T, Brown N, Gonçalves S, Amato R, Harrison E, Beale M, Chapman MS, Jackson DK, Johnston I, Alderton A, Sillitoe J, Langford C, Dougan G, Peacock SJ, Kwiatkowski DP, Goodfellow I, Török ME. Wellcome Sanger Institute Covid-19 Surveillance Team, COVID-19 Genomics Consortium UK. COVID-19 infection dynamics in care homes in the East of England: a retrospective genomic epidemiology study. ELife.2021;10:e64618.https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.26.20182279v4.full.pdf
- de Goffau MC, Lager S, Sovio U Gaccioli F, Cook E, Peacock SJ, Parkhill J, Charnock-Jones DS, Smith GCS. Human placenta has no microbiome but can contain potential pathogens. Analysis of bacterial DNA in the human placenta of women with normal and adverse pregnancy outcome. Nature. 2019;572(7769):329-334.https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1451-5
- Harrison EM, Ba X, Coll F, Blane B, Restif O, Carvell H, Köser CU, Jamrozy D, Reuter S, Lovering A, Gleadall N, Bellis KL, Uhlemann AC, Lowy FD, Massey RC, Grilo IR, Sobral R, Larsen J, Rhod Larsen A, Vingsbo Lundberg C, Parkhill J, Paterson GK, Holden MTG, Peacock SJ, Holmes MA. Genomic identification of cryptic susceptibility to penicillins and β-Lactamase inhibitors in methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Nature Microbiol. 2019;4(10):1680-1691. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-019-0471-0
- Gouliouris T, Raven KE, Moradigaravand D, Ludden C, Coll F, Blane B, Naydenova P, Horner C, Brown NM, Corander J, Limmathurotsakul D, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. Detection of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faeciumhospital-adapted lineages in municipal wastewater treatment plants indicates widespread distribution and release into the environment. Genome Res. 2019;29:626-634. https://genome.cshlp.org/content/29/4/626.full.pdf+html
- Ludden C, Raven KE, Jamrozy D, Gouliouris T, Blane B, Coll F, de Goffau M, Naydenova P, Horner C, Hernandez-Garcia J, Wood P, Hadjirin N, Radakovic M, Brown NM, Holmes M, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. One Health genomic surveillance of Escherichia colidemonstrates distinct lineages and mobile genetic elements in isolates from humans versus livestock. mBio. 2019;10(1). https://mbio.asm.org/content/mbio/10/1/e02693-18.full.pdf
- Gouliouris T, Raven KE, Ludden C, Blane B, Corander J, Horner CS, Hernandez-Garcia J, Wood P, Hadjirin NF, Radakovic M, Holmes MA, de Goffau M, Brown NM, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. Genomic surveillance of Enterococcus faeciumreveals limited sharing of strains and resistance genes between livestock and humans. mBio. 2018;9(6). https://mbio.asm.org/content/mbio/9/6/e01780-18.full.pdf