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Dr Franklin Nobrega


Lecturer in Microbiology

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Dr Franklin Nobrega is a Lecturer in Microbiology within the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on the arms-race between bacteria and their viruses, the bacteriophages, from a biological, ecological, and therapeutic perspective.

He seeks to understand the impact of bacteriophages in shaping natural microbial communities, particularly their role in the evolution of defence and anti-defence mechanisms, and their capacity to modulate bacterial metabolism, especially in biofilm and gut communities. He also works to develop innovative phage therapy approaches to fight antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

Landmark publications:

1. Wu Y, van den Hurk A, Aparicio-Maldonado C, Krishnakant Kushwaha S, King CM, Ou Y, Todeschini TC, Clokie MRJ, Millard AD, Gencay YE, Nobrega FL (2022). Defense systems provide synergistic anti-phage activity in E. coli. bioRxiv doi: 10.1101/2022.08.21.504612.

2. Bravo JPK, Aparicio-Maldonado C, Nobrega FL, Brouns SJJ, Taylor DW (2022). Structural basis for broad anti-phage immunity by DISARM. Nat Commun, 13:2987.

3. Payne LJ, Todeschini TC, Wu Y, Perry BJ, Ronson CW, Fineran PC, Nobrega FL, Jackson SA (2021). Identification and classification of antiviral defence systems in bacteria and archaea with PADLOC reveals new system types. Nucleic Acids Res, 49:10868-10878.

4. Nobrega FL, Hielke Walinga, Bas E Dutilh, Stan JJ Brouns (2020). Prophages are associated with extensive CRISPR-Cas auto-immunity. Nucleic Acids Res 48:12074-12084.

5. Nobrega FL, Vlot M, de Jonge PA, Dreesens LL, Beaumont HJE, Lavigne R, Dutilh BE, Brouns SJJ (2018). Targeting mechanisms of tailed phages. Nat Rev Microbiol, 16:760-773.

Major grants:

  • 2023-2024 Royal Society Research Grant, UK (PI, £17.1k)

  • 2021-2023 Bowel Research UK, UK (PI, £49k)

  • 2021-2023 Wessex Medical Research Innovation Grant, UK (PI, £20k)

  • 2021 IfLS Research Stimulus Fund, UK (PI, £9.3k)

  • 2020 AHSCC-19Engage, UK (PI, £5.3k)

  • 2019 ZonMw Diabetes Fonds, Netherlands (co-PI, €100k)

  • 2017-2020 Veni NWO-ALW, Netherlands (PI, €250k)

Impact example:

Co-founder of the Dutch Phage Bank


Nobrega FL and Brouns SJJ. Method for the generation of a   non-CRISPR-Cas-mediated phage insensitive mutant using an anti-CRISPR   protein. Application number 2022928.

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