Sharon Peacock

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Sharon Peacock CBE FMedSci is a British microbiologist and professor. She is known for her work on the use of microbial whole genome sequencing in diagnostic and public health microbiology. She is particularly known for her work on the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei and on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). She got her name from investigating faecal bacteria found in peacocks.

Sharon Peacock
Alma mater Southampton University
Known for diagnostic and public health microbiology, translation of microbial sequencing, antimicrobial resistance

CBE for services to medical microbiology (2015)
Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences
Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

Elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
Scientific career
Institutions Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, University of Cambridge, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University College Hospital, where she was founding Director of the Bloomsbury Research Institute


Peacock studied medicine at Southampton University, graduating in 1988. After this, she conducted four years of postgraduate training in London, Brighton, and Oxford, during which she obtained Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (MRCP).[1] She was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship in microbiology in 1995, and subsequent training in clinical microbiology led to Peacock obtaining membership of the Royal College of Pathologists in 1997. During this Fellowship, Peacock gained a PhD for her work on host-cell interactions of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus.[1]


Peacock's work is particularly focussed upon developing diagnostic and public health innovations from genome sequencing technologies.[2]

From 1998, Peacock worked as Senior Lecturer in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Oxford. In 2002 she went to Thailand on a Wellcome Trust Career Development Award, and remained there until 2009. During this time, she began collaboration with teams at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and became head of bacterial diseases research at the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme in Bangkok.[1]

On returning to the UK, Peacock became Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Cambridge, heading the Peacock Lab.[3] She also took up honorary consultant positions with the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and Health Protection Agency. She maintained a research programme in Thailand working on the molecular epidemiology of Leptospira, infection mechanisms of Burkholderia pseudomallei and Melioidosis.[1] Peacock has published around 150 papers on these topics.[4]

Peacock led a working group for the Department of Health's 100,000 genome project and contributed to the UK Chief Medical Officer's Annual report on antimicrobial resistance.[5][6]

In 2015, Peacock was appointed the founding Director of the Bloomsbury Research Institute, a £50 million research facility intended to investigate new treatments, vaccines, and methods of diagnosing, preventing, and controlling diseases.[5]

Large-scale research conducted by Peacock involved studies of MRSA, and in 2017 her study into the superbug was published in Science Translational Medicine.[7][8] She continues to research pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and multidrug resistant bacilli, and to conduct studies aimed at identifying reservoirs of antimicrobial resistance.[2][9][10][11]


Peacock receives funding from the Medical Research Council, the Department of Health, Wellcome Trust, and from the Department of Biotechnology.[9]

Honours and awards[edit]

Professor Peacock was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2013.[2]

In 2015, Peacock was awarded a CBE for services to medical microbiology.[9]

In 2017, it was announced that Peacock was to receive the Unilever Colworth Prize in recognition of her work in microbiology.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sharon Peacock". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Professor Sharon Peacock". The Academy of Medical Sciences. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Professor Peacock's Group". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Professor Sharon Peacock". BMC blog network. BioMed Central. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Sharon Peacock CBE appointed Director of the Bloomsbury Research Institute". UCL. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Chief Medical Officer's fifth annual report (advocacy volume) on genomics highlights the potential for pathogen genomics in patient diagnosis and infection control - On Medicine". On Medicine. BioMed Council. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Double recognition for microbiologist". ITV News. ITV. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  8. ^ "MRSA: Routinemäßige Genomanalysen können unerwartete Ausbrüche..." Ärzteblatt (in German). Ärzteblatt. 1 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Sharon Peacock". UCL. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Genomic data may help reveal hidden MRSA outbreaks". CIDRAP. University of Minnesota. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  11. ^ Gallagher, James (2017-10-26). "Superbug 'sleuthing' finds secret outbreaks". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-11-30.