Browse/search for people

Professor Howard Jenkinson

Professor Howard Jenkinson

Professor Howard Jenkinson
BSc(Warw), PhD(Nott)

Professor of Oral Microbiology

Area of research

Microbe-Host Interactions in Colonization and Pathogenesis

Lower Maudlin Street,
Bristol, BS1 2LY
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 342 4313
+44 (0) 117 342 4358


Professor Howard Jenkinson is a specialist in Oral Microbiology at the School of Oral and Dental Sciences. His research interests are in adhesion, colonization and virulence properties of human oral microorganisms, in particular Streptococcus, Candida, and Treponema. He is also interested in the mechanisms of biofilm formation, microbial community development and invasion of oral tissues.


Howard Jenkinson has been Professor and Chair of Oral Microbiology at the University of Bristol since 1997. He trained in Microbiology and Virology at the University of Warwick and then undertook PhD studies into anaerobic rumen bacterial metabolism, graduating PhD from the University of Nottingham in 1978.

Howard worked at the University of Oxford for five years as a post-doctoral researcher on the biochemistry and genetics of sporulation in Bacillus subtilis. He was appointed Lecturer in Oral Biology at the University of Otago, New Zealand in 1983, Senior Lecturer (1987), Associate Professor (1994), and Professor of Molecular Oral Biology (1996). He was a Commonwealth Medical Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (1989-1990) and a Commonwealth Medical Fellow at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford (1995-1996).

Howard is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, British Society for Dental Research, British Society for Medical Mycology, International Association for Dental Research and the Society for General Microbiology, UK. He has served on the SGM Council as Meetings Officer and as Publications Officer. He is currently on the Editorial Boards of Infection and Immunity, Molecular Oral Microbiology, and Pathogens, and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Molecular Microbiology

He has received funding for research from the British Heart Foundation, Health Research Council of New Zealand, MRC, Wellcome Trust, and the National Institutes of Health (NIDCR) USA.


Activities / Findings

Research highlights in the last 10 years have included:

  • Discovery of molecular recognition mechanisms by which bacteria invade tooth dentine and pulp
  • Establishing a critical role for manganese ions in microbial infection
  • Identifying a new virulence factor for Streptococcus pneumoniae with potential for vaccine development
  • Defining a new genetic susceptibility locus for human dental caries
  • Discovery of a platelet interactive bacterial protein that mimics host von Willebrand factor and predicts to impact thrombosis research
  • Finding that bacteria modify virulence of the most important oral fungus (Candida) that has far reaching implications in infectious disease.


Provides teaching and research project supervision within a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Didactic teaching is provided for Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) units including Oral Biology,  and we also contribute online literature projects within the Oral Health Research unit, and lectures to the 2nd students in the Infection and Immunity BSc programme.

Undergraduate laboratory research projects are offered for dental students each summer, and for BSc students undertaking degree programmes in Biochemistry, Microbiology, Medical Microbiology, and Pathology and Microbiology each winter. Vacation studentships sponsored by the Society for General Microbiology are also supervised within the Oral Microbiology laboratories.

Full and part-time projects leading to MSc and PhD degrees by research are offered. We also supervise students undertaking research projects for postgraduate professional degree programmes such as the MSc in Dental Implantology and DDS in Orthodontics. For further details regarding postgraduate opportunities, please refer to the Postgraduate Prospectus.

MSc project

MSc project


  • Oral microbiology
  • Dental sciences
  • Microbial pathogenesis
  • Biofilms
  • Polymicrobial infections
  • Streptococcus
  • Pneumococcus
  • Candida albicans
  • Spirochetes
  • Microbial surface proteins
  • Microbial genetics
  • Microbial adherence
  • Colonization mechanisms
  • Platelet-interactive proteins
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Periodontitis
  • Candidosis.


  • American Society for Microbiology
  • British Society for Medical Microbiology
  • International Association for Dental Research
  • Society of Biology
  • Society for General Microbiology

Processes and functions

  • Molecular microbiology
  • Protein structure and function
  • Cellular responses
  • Infection models.


  • Microbiology
  • Nucleic acid and protein sequence analyses
  • Microbial genetics
  • Electrotransformation
  • Protein purification
  • Biofilm models
  • Flow cells
  • Biological assays of adherence
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • SEM
  • Epithelial and endothelial cell culture
  • Microbial invasion assays
  • Cell signalling assays
  • Transcriptomics
  • Proteomics
  • Atomic force microscopy.


I have worked for 25 years studying mechanisms by which microbes (bacteria and fungi) cause infections. My primary expertise is with Streptococcus bacteria, which cause dental decay, sore throat, ear infections, tonsillitis, meningitis, pneumonia and cardiovascular disease. I also research the fungus Candida which causes thrush, denture sore mouth, and infections in hospital that are often fatal. The aim of my research is to gain better understanding of the mechanisms by which these microbes cause disease. We use various laboratory models for our studies, trying to reproduce more or less exactly conditions within the human body. We then hope to identify vaccines or pharmaceuticals that will be able to target the essential disease-causing mechanisms and thus control infections by these microbial agents. I also have broader expertise internationally in microbiology having been editor for several scientific journals and a long-standing member on Council for the UK Society of General Microbiology.

  • microbiology and medicine
  • Streptococcus
  • Candida
  • dentistry and microbiology
  • heart disease and infections
  • oral diseases
  • biofilms
  • Memberships


    School of Oral & Dental Sciences

    Other sites

    Academic staff

    Research programmes

    Research groups


    Selected publications

    Read more >

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

    Networks & contacts

    • Ang Nobbs (ORDS)
    • Bo Su (ORDS)
    • Michele Barbour (ORDS)
    • Mark Jepson (Biochem)
    • Paul Race (Biochem)
    • Ian Collinson (Biochem)
    • Matt Crump (Chem)
    • Ariel Blocker (CMM)
    • Steve Kerrigan (RCSI Dublin)
    • Aras Kadioglu (Liverpool)
    • Mark Ramsdale (Exeter)
    • Rich Lamont (Louisville)
    • Meg Vickerman (SUNY Buffalo)
    • Nicklas Stromberg (Umea)
    • Karina Persson (Umea).

    Edit this profile If you are Professor Howard Jenkinson, you can edit this page. Login required.

    PDF versionDownload PDF