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Jorge Garcia-Lara

Senior Lecturer in Microbiology; Director MRes Medical Sciences

School of Medicine

Harrington Building, HA210

+44 (0) 1772 89 5872

JGarcia-Lara@uclan.ac.uk

Jorge is an expert on infectious disease, from intimate aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of bacterial pathogens to translation onto novel prophylaxis and therapy.  Research active, with more than 40 publications and 6 patents, he is a recognized international figure in the field, with extensive experience in academic and industry research developed in prestigious universities and research institutes in Europe and the USA.  Jorge is the Microbiology Lead in the School Medicine and Faculty

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Jorge’s path towards developing his expertise on bacterial pathogenesis stemmed from environmental microbiology with an interuniversity PhD awarded in 1993 on the  ‘Survival, mortality and genetic transfer of Escherichia coli in natural environments’  that he undertook at the universities of Barcelona (Spain), Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and Cardiff (UK).  Subsequently, with the objective to immerse himself on fundamental aspects of the molecular biology of pathogens Jorge moved to the School of Medicine at the University of Connecticut (USA) to to lead studies on gene expression of bacterial cell division in the laboratory of Prof. Lawrence Rothfield.

Amongst other studentships and grants, his PhD studies and his PostDoctoral period was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education.  Then he took his molecular biology skills to the group of Prof. Frank Gherardini in 2000 first at the University of Georgia (USA) and then at the NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories (USA), to develop genetic tools to study the causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, as well as studies on oxidative stress in the same microorganism.

In 2002 Jorge returned to Europe, specifically to work with one of the leading figures on investigations on the gram-positive organism Staphylococcus aureus -better known by its antibiotic resistant variant MRSA-, Prof. Simon Foster.  In Sheffield upon a backbone project to study the unknown genes of essential function Jorge made and contribute to a number of discoveries on cell division, ribosomal function, the seminal discovery of a novel membrane supramolecular structure, novel antimicrobials, host-pathogen interactions, novel virulence factors, and a new pathway of the innate immune system.  In addition, and as an example of his entrepreneurial drive and views on innovation towards translational initiatives, he exploited his discoveries in basic science to develop a new platform to develop vaccines to combat bacterial ‘superbugs’.

The significance of his advancements were recognized by the the BBSRC/Royal Society of Edinburgh and Yorkshire Forward who awarded him Enterprise Fellowships that became vehicles to his co-founding a biotechnology spin-out company (Absynth Biologics Ltd.).  Besides his role within the Board of Directors, as Absynth’s Director of Research he built an exceptional team of excellent researchers.  A number of publications and patents, besides a company resulted from all the work above. As Absynth progressed beyond the early discovery stage, against the backdrop of Jorge’s underlying passion towards academia and discovery research as well as entrepreneurial attitude and aptitude, the opportunity to join the exciting endeavour of becoming an active contributor to the process of building a new School of Medicine at UCLan became irresistible.

Jorge is the Microbiology Lead at the School, the Research Degrees Tutor, the Lead for Intercalating Studies, and the Director of its MRes Medical Sciences Programme amongst other roles.  Additionally, Jorge has remained research active (see below). Jorge says “I feel fortunate and grateful to the excellent scientists and business women and men that crossed my path and helped my development, many of who still remain as close friends besides valuable colleagues”.

Publications

Lopez-Goñi, I., …, J. García -Lara. 2016. “Twitter as a Tool for Teaching and Communicating Microbiology: The #microMOOCSEM Initiative .”  Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education 17 (3): 492–94.

García-Lara, J., F. Weihs, X. Ma, L. Walker, R. R. Chaudhuri, J. Kasturiarachchi, H. Crossley, R. Golestanian, and S. J. Foster. “Supramolecular Structure in the Membrane of Staphylococcus Aureus.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). 112(51):15725.

Prajsnar, T. K., R. Hamilton, J. Garcia-Lara, G. McVicker, A. Williams, M. Boots, S. J. Foster, and S. A. Renshaw. “A Privileged Intraphagocyte Niche Is Responsible for Disseminated Infection of Staphylococcus Aureus in a Zebrafish Model.” Cellular Microbiology, 2012, n/a–n/a.

Gill, M. R., J. García-Lara, S. J. Foster, C. Smythe, G. Battaglia, and J. A. Thomas. 2009. “A Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complex for Direct Imaging of DNA Structure in Living Cells.” Nature Chemistry 1, (8) 662–67.

Research Activities

  • The changing paradigm of endocarditis – the Lancashire view
  • The organization and regulation of bacterial essential genes
  • The microbial path to cancer
  • In vitro models of oral biofilm formation

See projects

Projects

  • Novel antibacterials (imidazole and foldamer-based derivatives) (funded by Undergraduate and Postgraduate UCLan Internship Programmes)
  • Micronutrients, microbiota selection and pathogenesis (funded by DTA3/COFUND Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowship programme)

Please contact Jorge directly to explore opportunities for self-funded or sponsored PhDs, Master’s or Postgraduate work in his laboratory.

Memberships

  • Microbiology Society UK
  • Spanish Society of Microbiolgy
  • Catalan Society of Biology

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Lecturer:

  • Module UM1010 Medical Microbiology I (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)
  • Module UM2010 Medical Microbiology II (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery)
  • Module UM4100 Medical Microbiology (PGDip Physicians Associate)
  • Module XY2040 Research Methods in Medical Sciences (B.Sc. Medical Sciences)

Lecturer and Module Lead:

  • XY1030 Medical Microbiology (B.Sc. Medical Sciences)
  • XY3240 Research Project (B.Sc. Medical Sciences)

Course Director:

  • MRes in Medical Sciences (starting in Sep. 2019)

Conferences

2017 “The drugs don’t work”. Symposium on antimicrobial resistance & host-pathogen interaction. Florey Institute. Univ. Sheffield (Sheffield, UK)

2016 “From the intimate molecular & cellular biology
of bacterial pathogens
to anti-microbial vaccines & therapy”. College of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences. University of Central Lancashire. College Seminar Series. (Preston, UK)

2015 “A novel anti-bacterial vaccine platform: early discovery and beyond”. Zoonoses Meeting. Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Ludwig Maximillians Univ. (Munich, Germany).

2013 “Supramolecular architecture of the S. aureus membrane”. Gordon Research Conference - Staphylococcal Diseases (New Hampshire, USA)

2012 “Novel vaccine & antibody therapy to combat infectious disease”. Vaccine Technologies Symposium. Institute of Chemical Engineers (London, UK).