Dr J. Mark Sutton obtained a PhD in Molecular Microbiology working at the John Innes Institute, Norwich in 1994. During his PhD, he developed a range of expertise in molecular genetics, molecular biology, protein chemistry, recombinant protein purification and microbiology. His PhD was followed by BBSRC-funded post-doctoral fellowships at John Innes and the University of Leeds (1994-1997), working on the generation of disease resistant transgenic plants.
Mark joined the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR), Porton Down in 1997 (which became part of the Health Protection Agency in 2003 and Public Health England in 2013) and worked on a series of commercially funded studies aiming to develop new medicines derived from the properties of botulinum neurotoxin and other bacterial toxins. This developed a range of skills in molecular microbiology, protein purification, protein structure function analysis and therapeutic development. The work led to a spin out company, Syntaxin Ltd (Now acquired by Ipsen Pharmaceuticals). He spent 10 years leading a series of projects focussed on preventing the transmission of variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). These studies led to presentations to UK government advisory groups, with work cited in risks assessments and guidance documents.
Dr Sutton became a Scientific Leader for Healthcare Biotechnology in 2009 and manages the Technology Development Group, an interdisciplinary research group within PHE’s National Infections Service. The group focusses on developing and evaluating new interventions for the treatment of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) and antimicrobial resistance. The group developed models to assess applied infection control methods (decontamination, disinfection) and to evaluate new antimicrobial agents, working with a number of chemistry, pharmacy, physical science, electrical engineering and microbiology groups worldwide. The group established a screening and evaluation pathway for assessing the efficacy of new antimicrobials and to enable analysis of resistance that emerges during exposure to antibiotics. This uses a range of in vitro assays, in vivo infection models, with molecular genetics and embedded whole genome sequencing used to understand susceptibility and the emergence of resistance.
Mark is a visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College London and represents PHE on a number of advisory boards and committees, nationally and internationally. He is author on more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and a named inventor on 16 patent families, filed internationally.