John Wain is Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of East Anglia, the CSO and director for Discuva and Bactevo Ltd. and founding editor of the Journal of Infection in Developing Countries.

He is a bacteriologist and international authority on Salmonella and other gastrointestinal pathogens with over 30 years' experience in the identification of bacterial pathogens and antibiotic resistance. Having started work as a graduate biologist in the public health laboratory service in the UK in 1981, and continued into the NHS from 1989-1992, John Wain pursued a research career in medical microbiology with a Ph.D at Birmingham University a decade at the Wellcome Trust oversees Unit in Vietnam and three years postdoctoral research at Imperial College. This was followed by a faculty position in Cambridge at the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute and a senior lectureship at the University of Liverpool. In 2008 Dr Wain became the head of the largest bacteriology reference laboratory in the UK at Colindale: The laboratory for Gastrointestinal Pathogens, before moving into his current role of leading research in GI infections and developing translational research in diagnostic microbiology at the UEA.

Summary of research achievements in translational microbiology

1999 - Initiated as part of his PhD studies the sequencing of first Salmonella genome, published in Nature in 2001, and was awarded the young microbiologist of the year by the American Society for Microbiology (the first non-American to receive this prestigious award) for work on outcome prediction for chemotherapy in typhoid fever.

 2003 - Established lab at Sanger to exploit Salmonella genome data and developed transposon mutagenesis for describing globally essential gene sets and small non-coding RNAs for Salmonella.

 2007 - Described involvement of H-NS global regulation of newly acquired horizontal DNA 

 2008 - As director of the HPA’s reference lab for GI infection established evidence base for the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) as the routine method for outbreak investigation - and drove the effort to be the first public health service laboratory to sequence, in house, an outbreak strain - from the German E. coli outbreak.

 2011 - Founded Discuva and established translation microbiology laboratory at UEA

 2013 - Founded Bactevo



   Biomedical Scientist, Public Health, Laboratory, Dorchester.

   Granted two years leave of absence for volunteer work in West Africa with the VSO.


   Adult education - Teacher of Microbiology, College of Health Technology, Sokoto, Nigeria.


   Senior Biomedical Scientist, Weston General Hospital, Somerset, UK.
   At this time I moved out of a career in clinical laboratories to start my academic career and registered part time for a PhD.


   Head of Microbiology Labs. Wellcome Trust Research Unit, Vietnam.


   Academic Visitor, Dept Biochemistry, Imperial College, London.


   Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection, Imperial College, London.


   Consultant Microbiologist for the International Vaccine Institute, Soule, Korea. This position ran concurrently with jobs in the UK.


   Junior Fellow, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK.


   Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, University of Liverpool, and


   Director of the Laboratory for Gastrointestinal Infections Health Protection Agency, Colindale, London.

Academic Background

1976-79            B.Sc. Biological Sciences, honours class III, Portsmouth Polytechnic

1991-92            M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology (Parasitology) with distinction, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

1996-2000        Ph.D. “Antimicrobial resistance in S. typhi” Birmingham University, Dept, Infection

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