Dr Helge Dorfmueller

Principal Investigator

Molecular Microbiology, School of Life Sciences

Portrait of Helge Dorfmueller
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+44 (0)1382 386203


Medical Sciences Institute


The cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria consists of an intricate network of proteins, peptidoglycan, and secondary cell wall structures (SCWS) that are covalently linked to the peptidoglycan. Teichoic or teichuronic acids are typical and well-studied SCWS in Gram-positive bacteria and play an important role in normal cell function and infection. Interestingly, many β-hemolytic streptococcal species appear to lack expression of typical teichoic or teichuronic acid structures and instead express a rhamnose-rich polysaccharide, which comprises approximately half of the cell wall by weight. Historically, expression of these evolutionary conserved glycans underlies classification of β-hemolytic streptococci in Lancefield groups (A, B, C, G...), a feature that is still made use of and applied in contemporary rapid test kits to diagnose and classify streptococcal infections.

The current research focus from the HD laboratory is on the biosynthesis pathway of the Group A Carbohydrate. In order to reveal details into the biosynthesis of this Streptococcus pyogenes virulence factor, we are applying a range of disciplines ranging from molecular biology, synthetic biology, biochemistry, mass-spectrometry and structural biology.

This research is conducted in collaboration with:

  • Prof Mike Ferguson, University of Dundee, UK
  • Dr Nina van Sorge at the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands  
  • Prof Dusan Uhrin, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Dr Torgov, Dr Danilov and Dr Veselovlsy, N.D. Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Moscow, Russia

Selected publications

Lab members

Dr Rupa Nagar
Dr Sowmya Ajay Castro
Saria Mansoor
Kieron Lucas

View full research profile and publications


Research interests

Investigation of streptococcal cell wall biogenesis and glycoconjugate vaccine development


Award Year
Major Personal Funding Awards / Wellcome Career Development Award 2022
Major Personal Funding Awards / Wellcome Innovator Award 2020
PiCLS Best Mentor Award 2019
People's Award 2019
Major Personal Funding Awards / Tenovus Scotland Large Research Grant 2017
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / Tenovus Scotland Robin McLellan Award 2017
Personal Fellowships / Royal Society and Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellowship 2016
Personal Fellowships / FEBS Short Term Fellowship to visit UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands 2015
Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Training Fellowships 2010