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Jack C. Leo

Senior Lecturer

Department of Biosciences

Staff Group(s)
Academic Division Bioscience


I am a member of the Antimicrobial Resistance, Omics & Microbiota group at NTU. I am module leader for BIOL40472: Medical Microbiology and I also teach in modules BIOL33211: Toxicology, BIOL33511: Environmental Forensic Assessment, BIOL45231: Molecular Microbiology, BIOL22371: Applied Microbiology, BIOL33391: Molecular Microbiology, BIOL10321: Introduction to Microbiology, and BIOL14406: Living Systems.

Career overview

I attained my PhD from the University of Helsinki in 2009. I then moved to Germany for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tuebingen, where I spent 3 years. Following this, I did a second postdoc at the University of Oslo, Norway, before becoming a group leader there. I joined NTU in June 2019.

Research areas

I study bacterial pathogenesis, focusing on autotransporters of Gram-negative bacteria. These proteins are self-contained secretion systems and surface molecules that mediate a number of virulence functions. The proteins are found widely in Gram-negative bacteria, and I have studied a variety of autotransporters from organisms such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Yersinia enterocolitica. My work characterises both the functions of autotransporters as well as their secretion mechanism. In addition, as surface-exposed molecules and virulence factors, autotransporters are potential vaccine and drug targets.

External activity

I am a member of the editorial board for Biology (MDPI), PeerJ, and Scientific Reports, and I am a review editor for Frontiers in Microbiology. I also regularly review for journals such as FEMS Microbiology Letters, Toxins (MDPI), and Microbiology. For recent peer review activity, visit my Publons page.

I am a member of the Society for Applied Microbiology and the Microbiology Society.


Recent publications:

  1. Khalil HS, Øgaard J, Leo JC (2020): Coaggregation properties of trimeric autotransporter adhesins. Microbiolyopen 
  2. Whelan R, McVicker G, Leo JC (2020): Staying out or going in? The interplay of type 3 and type 5 secretion systems in adhesion and invasion of enterobacterial pathogens. Int J Mol Sci. 21(11): 4102.
  3. Wrobel A, Saragliadis A, Pérez-Ortega J, Sittman C, Göttig S, Liskiewicz K, Spence MH, Schneider K, Leo JC, Arenas J, Linke D (2020): The inverse autotransporters of Yersinia ruckeri, YrInv and YrIlm, contribute to biofilm formation and virulence. Environ Microbiol., 22(7): 2939-55.
  4. ElTahir Y, Al-Araimi A, Nair, RR, Autio, K, Tu H, Leo JC, Al-Marzooqi W, Johnson EH (2019): Binding of Brucella protein, Bp26, to select extracellular matrix molecules. BMC Mol Cell Biol., 20: 55.
  5. Trunk T, Casasanta MA, Yoo CC, Slade DJ, Leo JC (2019): Comparison of type 5d autotransporter phospholipase activities demonstrates a correlation between high activity and intracellular pathogenic lifestyle. Biochem J.,476(18): 2657-76.
  6. Wrobel A, Leo JC, Linke D (2019): Overcoming fish defences: the virulence factors of Yersinia ruckeri. Genes 10(9): 700.
  7. Meuskens I, Saragliadis A, Leo JC, Linke D (2019): Type V secretion systems: An overview of passenger domain functions. Front Microbiol., 10: 1163.
  8. Hatlem D, Trunk T, Linke D, Leo JC (2019): Catching a SPY: using the SpyCatcher-SpyTag and related systems for labeling and localizing bacterial proteins. Int J Mol Sci., 20(9): 2129.
  9. Chauhan N, Hatlem D, Orwyck-Rydmark M, Schneider K, Floetenmeyer M, van Rossum B, Leo JC, Linke D (2019). Insights into the autotransport process of a trimeric autotransporter, Yersinia adhesin A (YadA). Mol Microbiol., 111(3): 844-62.
  10. Klein K, Sonnabend M, Frank L, Leibiger K, Franz-Wachterl M, Macek  B, Trunk T, Leo JC, Autenrieth IB, Schütz M, Bohn E (2019). Deprivation of the periplasmic chaperone SurA reduces virulence and restores antibiotic susceptibility of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Front Microbiol., 10:100.

See all of Jack Leo's publications...