Professor Martin Maiden

Fellow and Tutor in Biology, Tutor for Graduates

Professor of Molecular Epidemiology

BSc, MA, PhD, FRCPath
Phone number: 
01865 271284

Martin Maiden is Professor of Molecular Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, visiting Professor the Department of Biosciences at the University of Cardiff, and a Fellow of the Society of Biology. 

After an initial training in microbiology at the University of Reading, during which he developed an enduring interest in infectious disease and public health, Martin's graduate studies with Peter Henderson in the Biochemistry Department in Cambridge pioneered molecular, genetic, and biochemical techniques to study sugar transport proteins in the common intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli.  During his PhD studies he became interested multi-disciplinary and evolutionary approaches to investigating biological problems.  After a two-year MRC Training Fellowship in Cambridge, he moved to the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, to establish a vibrant group working on memingococcal disease with Ian Feavers.  He was a group leader at NIBSC for nine years, including a sabbatical year with Mark Achtman at the Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Genetik, Berlin.  In this period he worked mainly on the biology Neisseria meningitidis and its implications for vaccination.  In 1997 he left NIBSC for a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship in Oxford.  He was elected a Fellow of Hertford College and appointed Professor of Molecular Epidemiology in the Department of Zoology in 2004.  He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2010.

Research group websites are at:


For graduate matters, please email tutorforgraduates [at] hertford [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk.

Undergraduate teaching 

Martin lectures for the BA in Biological Sciences, and for other biomedical courses in the University, on microbiology, host pathogen interactions, infection and immunity, public health and policy, and microbial genomics, and gives undergraduate tutorials in microbiology and the biology of infectious diseases.

Postgraduate teaching 

Martin lectures on a number of MSc courses including those on ‘Integrated Immunology’ and ‘Global Public Health’ and has supervised more than 20 graduate students for doctoral level qualifications.


Martin's group combines evolutionary and population techniques to investigate a range of bacterial pathogens.  He retains a strong commitment to developing public health applications on the basis of current research. His research team has, for more than 20 years, focussed on the investigation of the phenotypic consequences of bacterial pathogen diversity, principally using nucleotide sequence-based analyses.  Currently he is developing population genomics approaches to these questions, establishing links between genetic traits identified by means of next generation sequencing technology with defined bacterial phenotypes.  He has published more than 230 articles in peer-reviewed international journals and around 50 book chapters and other publications, spanning a range of microbial pathogens, with the majority concerning the pathogenic Neisseria and Campylobacter.  They played a central role in establishing the MLST paradigm generally and developing and exploiting this approach in both of these organisms specifically.  The group has a particular interest in vaccination and in using population approaches, particularly carriage studies, to improve meningococcal vaccines and vaccination schedules.  They have pioneered source attribution methods for Campylobacter, which have had important implications for food safety.


Eleven selected publications (a fuller list can be found here)

  • Maiden, M. C. J., Davis, E. O., Baldwin, S. A., Moore, D. C. M. & Henderson, P. J. F. (1987). Mammalian and bacterial sugar transport proteins are homologous. Nature  325, 641-643.
  • Gupta, S., Maiden, M. C. J., Feavers, I.M., Nee, S., May, R.M., & Anderson, R.M. (1996). The maintenance of strain structure in populations of recombining infectious agents. Nature Medicine 2,437-442.
  •  Maiden, M. C. J., Bygraves, J. A., Feil, E., Morelli, G., Russell, J. E., Urwin, R., Zhang, Q., Zhou, J., Zurth, K., Caugant, D. A., Feavers, I. M., Achtman, M. & Spratt, B. G. (1998). MLST: a portable approach to the identification of clones within populations of pathogenic microorganisms. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA  95, 3140-3145.
  •  MacLennan, J. M., Urwin, R., Obaro, S., Griffiths, D., Greenwood, B., & Maiden, M. C. (2000). Carriage of serogroup W-135, ET-37 meningococci in The Gambia: implications for immunisation policy? Lancet 356:1078.
  •  Maiden, M. C., Stuart, J. M. & UK Meningococcal Carriage Group (2002). Carriage of serogroup C meningococci 1 year after meningococcal C conjugate polysaccharide vaccination. Lancet  359, 1829-1831.
  •  Maiden, M. C., Ibarz-Pavon, A. B., Urwin, R., Gray, S. J., Andrews, N. J., Clarke, S. C., Walker, A. M., Evans, M. R., Kroll, J. S., Neal, K. R., Ala'aldeen, D. A., Crook, D. W., Cann, K., Harrison, S., Cunningham, R., Baxter, D., Kaczmarski, E., Maclennan, J., Cameron, J. C. & Stuart, J. M. (2008). Impact of meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccines on carriage and herd immunity. J Infect Dis  197, 737-743. [108 citations]
  •  Sheppard, S. K., McCarthy, N. D., Falush, D. & Maiden, M. C. (2008). Convergence of Campylobacter species: implications for bacterial evolution. Science  320, 237-239.
  • Buckee, C. O., Jolley, K. A., Recker, M., Penman, B., Kriz, P., Gupta, S. & Maiden, M. C. (2008). Role of selection in the emergence of lineages and the evolution of virulence in Neisseria meningitidis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA  105, 15082-15087.
  • Sheppard, S. K., Dallas, J. F., Strachan, N. J., MacRae, M., McCarthy, N. D., Wilson, D. J., Gormley, F. J., Falush, D., Ogden, I. D., Maiden, M. C. & Forbes, K. J. (2009). Campylobacter genotyping to determine the source of human infection. Clin Infect Dis  48, 1072-1078.
  • Jolley, K. A. & Maiden, M. C. J. (2010). BIGSdb: Scalable analysis of bacterial genome variation at the population level. BMC Bioinformatics  11.
  •  Daugla, D. M., Gami, J. P., Gamougam, K., Naibei, N., Mbainadji, L., Narbe, M. Toralta, J., Kodbesse, B., Ngadoua, C., Coldiron, M.E., Fermon, F., Page, A.L., Djingarey, M.H., Hugonnet, S., Harrison, O.B., Rebbetts, L.S., Tekletsion, Y., Watkins, E.R., Hill, D., Caugant DA, Chandramohan, D., Hassan-King, M., Manigart, O., Nascimento, M., Woukeu, A., Trotter, C., Stuart, J.M., Maiden, M. C., Greenwood, B.M. 2014. Effect of a serogroup A meningococcal conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT) on serogroup A meningococcal meningitis and carriage in Chad: a community study. Lancet 383:40-7.