The Peacock Group
Sharon Peacock CBE FMedSci is a Professor of Public Health and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine. She is the Executive Director and Chair of the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium. Professor Peacock is a non-executive director at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and holds a secondment with Public Health England (PHE) as Director of Science (Pathogen Genomics). More information can be found about the research group members here: https://professorsharonpeacock.co.uk
All members of the Peacock Group have been involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes volunteering in the diagnostic microbiology laboratory at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to support the diagnosis of COVID-19, the study of environmental contamination in the hospital with SARS-CoV-2, study of the feasibility of re-sterilisation of FFP3 masks, and extensive support to COG-UK including all aspects of operational management, logistics, administration and communication.
The Peacock Group also work on three main themes:
Our current focus is 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 or not 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). Laboratory work is performed by Katie Bellis and Sophia Girgis. Co-investigators include Professor John Danesh, Dr Carl Anderson, Professor Julian Parkhill, and Dr Joan Geoghegan.
We want to make it increasingly feasible for routine microbiology laboratories to undertake whole genome sequencing. We are developing 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.
This programme is managed by Dr Kathy Raven (University of Cambridge), and funded by a Wellcome/Department of Health and Social Care HICF (Health Innovation Challenge Fund) award. The laboratory team includes Beth Blane and Danielle Leek. Co-investigators include Professor Julian Parkhill and Dr’s Theo Gouliouris, Nick Brown and David Enoch.
Theme 3: Understanding the biology and transmission of bacterial pathogens
Using a One Health approach, members of the Peacock group undertake bacterial genome-based studies to better define the possible sources of antibiotic resistant bacteria that cause serious infection in humans. This involves the isolation of bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecium from patients and their ward environment, livestock farms, the food chain and sewage. Bacterial genomes from these different sources are compared to define their relatedness, including the genes that code for antibiotic resistance.
This work is led by Dr Catherine Ludden, who is funded by a Wellcome Fellowship. Collaborators include Profs Mark Holmes, Julian Parkhill and Martin Cormican, and Dr’s Theo Gouliouris and Nick Brown.
- Ludden C, Coll F, Gouliouris T, Restif O, Blane B, Kumar N, Naydenova P, Crawley C, Brown NM, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. Defining nosocomial transmission of Escherichia coli and antimicrobial resistance genes using an integrated genomic and epidemiological approach. Lancet Microbe. In press.
- 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 of Enterococcus 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.
- 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 faecium reveals 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