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Professor Sally Jane Cutler

Professor in Medical Microbiology

Infection & Immunity


    Research expertise has evolved from arthropod-borne borrelial infections to encompass a wide array of bacterial zoonoses including Rickettsia, Coxiella, Leptospira and Bartonella. This work has gone from field-based studies through to molecular profiling and from developing countries to those in more affluent nations. This has helped to develop Professor Cutler’s international reputation in the field. She is extensively involved with dissemination of research and serves in several editorial and advisory roles. This wealth of experience is further disseminated to students through teaching activities.


    Professor Cutler's publication portfolio now contains over 100 journal publications attracting an excess of 1800 citations and a further 6 book chapters (h-index 21), her scientific contributions have aided our understanding in the field of bacterial zoonoses establishing a reputation as a scientific leader in this area. Selected recent publications are listed below:

    Whatmore A.M., Shankster S.J., Perrett L.L., Murphy T.J., Brew S.D., Thirlwall R.E., Cutler S.J., & MacMillan A.P.  (2006) Identification and characterization of variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) markers for typing of Brucella spp.  J. Clin Microbiol. 46, 1982-1993. [Citations 100]

    Magali Lescot, Stéphane Audic, Catherine Robert, Thitien Nguyen, Guillaume Blanc, Sally J. Cutler, Jean-Michel Claverie, Didier Raoult & Michel Drancourt. The genome of Borrelia recurrentis, the agent of deadly louse-borne relapsing fever, is a degraded subset of tick-borne Borrelia duttonii. PLoS Genetics September 2008 e1000185. [Citations 61]

    Cutler, S.J., Abdissa, A. & Trape, J-F. (2009) New Concepts for the Old Challenges of African Relapsing Fever Borreliosis. Clinical Microbiology & Infection.15: 400-6. [Citations 38]

    Cutler, S.J. Bonilla, E.M., Singh, R. 2010 Insights into the Population Structure of East African Relapsing Fever Borrelia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16 (7) 1076-80. [Citations 17]

    Cutler, S.J. (2010) Relapsing Fever – A forgotten disease revealed. Journal for Applied Microbiology 108: 1115-1122. [Citations 34]

    Cutler S.J., Fooks AR, van der Poel WHM. (2010) Public health threat of new, reemerging, and neglected zoonoses in the industrialized world. Emerg Infect Dis 16 (1) 1-7[Citations 82]

    Cutler, S.J., Abdissa, A., Adamu, H., Tolosa, T., Gashaw, A. 2012 Bartonella in Ethiopian lice. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, 35: 17-21. [Citations 8]

    Pader, V., Nikitorowicz-Buniak, J. Abdissa, A., Adamu, H., Tolosa, T., Gashaw, A. Cutler, S.J. 2012 Rickettsia hoogstraalii in Ethiopian Argas persicus ticks. Ticks & Tick-Borne Diseases 3: 337-44. [Citations 2]

    Haitham E, Gimenez G, Robert C, Cutler SJ, Raoult D, Drancourt M. 2012 Complete genome sequence of Borrelia crocidurae. J Bacteriol 194 (14) 3723-4. [Citations 9]

    Wolcott, R., Costerton, J.W., Raoult, D., Cutler, S.J. (2013) The polymicrobial nature of biofilm infection. Clinical Microbiology & Infection 19 (2): 107-112. [Citations 28]

    Knobel, D.L., Maina, A.N., Cutler, S.J., Ogola, E., Feikin, D.R., Junghae, M., Halliday, J.E.B., Richards, A.L., Breiman, R.F., Cleaveland, S., & Njenga, M.K. 2013 Coxiella burnetii in humans, domestic ruminants and ticks in rural western Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; 88; (3) 513-8. [Citations 7]

    Halliday, JEB, Knobel, DL, Allan, KJ, Bronsvoort, M de C, Handel, I, Agwanda, B, Cutler, SJ, Olack, B, Hartskeerl, RA, Njenga, MK, Cleaveland, S, Breiman, RF. 2013 Urban leptospirosis in Africa: a cross-sectional survey of Leptospira infection in rodents in the Kibera urban settlement, Nairobi, Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 89(6):1095-102. [Citations 9]

    Maina, A.N., Jiang, J., Omulo, S., Cutler, S.J., Ade, F., Ogola, E., Feikin, D., Njenga, M.K., Cleaveland, S., Mpoke, S., Ng’ang’a, Z., Breiman, R.F., Knobel, D.L. Richards, A.L. 2014 High prevalence of Rickettsia africae variants in Amblyomma variegatum ticks from domestic mammals in rural western Kenya: implications for human health. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 14(10): 693-702. [Citations 2]

    Cutler S.J. (2014) Bacteria: Coxiella burnetii. (Chapter 94) In: Motarjemi Y. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Food Safety, Volume 1 pp. 410-416. Waltham, MA: Academic Press. ISBN: 978-0-12-378613-5. 

    Cutler S.J. (2014) Chapter 100: Bacterial zoonoses – an overview. Molecular Medical Microbiology 2e. Editors Tang, Y-W., Liu, D., Poxton, I.R., Schwartzman, J.D., Sussman, M. 1767-76. ISBN: 978-0-12-397169-2.

    Cutler, S.J. (2015) Chapter 165: Relapsing fever borreliae. Clinical Infectious Disease, 2ed. Editor David Schlossberg. Cambridge University Press. 1068-1071.

    Cutler, S.J. (2015) Relapsing fever borreliae – a global review. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine 35(4): 847-865. doi:10.1016/j.cll.2015.07.001

    Vayssier-Taussat, M., Kazimirova, M., Hubalek, Z., Hornok, S., Farkas, R., Cosson, J-F., Bonnet, S., Vourch, G., Gasqui, P., Mihalca, A.D., Plantard, O., Silaghi, C., Cutler, S.J. Rizzoli, A. (2015) Emerging horizons for tick-borne pathogens: from the “one pathogen-one disease” vision to the pathobiome paradigm. Future Microbiology 10 (12) 2033-43. [3 citations]

    Naddaf, S.R., Ghazinezhad, B., Sedaghat, M.M., Asl, H.M, Cutler, S.J. (2015) Tick-borne relapsing fever in southern Iran. Emerging Infectious Diseases 21 (6) 1078-80 DOI: 10.3201/eid2106.141715.

    Cutler, S.J. (2015) Neglected zoonoses: forgotten infections among disregarded populations. Clinical Microbiology & Infection 21 CLM-15-8556 submitted April 2015.

    Cutler, S.J. (2016) Refugee crisis and re-emergence of forgotten infections in Europe. Clinical Microbiology & Infection 22 (1) 8-9.

    Shirani, D., Rakhshanpoor, A., Cutler, S.J., Ghazinezhad, B., Naddaf, S.R. (2016). A case of canine borreliosis in Iran caused by Borrelia persicus. Ticks & Tick-Borne Diseases 7 (3) 424-6. [1 citation]

    Antonelli, G. & Cutler, S. Evolution of Koch’s postulates: towards a twenty-first century understanding of microbial infection. (2016) Clinical Microbiology & Infection in press doi:10.1016/j.cmi.2016.03.030.


    Cutler, S.J., Ruzic-Sabljic, E., Potkonjak. A. (2016) Emerging borreliae – Expanding beyond Lyme borreliosis. Molecular Cellular Probes S0890-8508(16)30065-2. doi: 10.1016/j.mcp.2016.08.003.  .

    Sally J. Cutler, Nataliia Rudenko, Marina Golovchenko, Wibke J. Cramaro, Josiane Kirpach, Sara Savic, Iva Christova, Ana Amaro. (2017) Diagnosing borreliosis Vectorborne & Zoonotic Diseases 17(1):2-11.

     Marcella Mori, Katja Mertens, Sally J Cutler, Ana Sofia Santos. (2017) Critical aspects for detection of Coxiella burnetii, Vectorborne & Zoonotic Diseases 17(1) 33-44.


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    Recent funding

    Seedcorn: Q fever – a forgotten pathogen in our midst? (2006 £24,888 over 3 years)

    MedVetNet (EU FP6 NoE: New, emerging & neglected zoonoses (2006 14,000 euros 1 year)

    CBRN S&T: Animal reservoirs of zoonotic disease (2006 with Prof Taylor over 2 years)

    CBRN S&T: Real-time PCR diagnostic tests for selected agents (2006 for 3 years)

    Wellcome Trust: Relationships between human & animal health in Kenya (with Dr Cleaveland – collaborative role)

    ISTC: Monitoring of human & animal brucellosis in Kazakhstan (2006 collaborative role)

    Government funding Portugal: tick-borne diseases in Portugal (2006 collaborative role as project consultant)

    UEL Promising Researcher: Multiplex detection of bacterial zoonoses (2007 £50,000 over 10 months)

    Nuffield vacation studentship: Characterising a Rickettsial species found in the African soft tick Ornithodoros moubata (2009 £1500 8 weeks)

    SGM: Summer vacation studentship: Simplification of rickettsial diagnostics (2010 £1880 8 weeks)

    SGM Presidents Fund Ticks & lice in Ethiopia (2010 £2945 4 weeks)

    UEL Research Development Funding Characterisation of Rickettsia in soft ticks (2011 £5000)

    Nuffield Vacation Studentship on in situ typing of Leptospirosis among UK wildlife. (2011 £1588 8 weeks)

    Astellas: evaluation of antifungal agents & fungal biofilms (with Imperial College 2011 £6000).

    UEL summer internship – Bartonella in head lice (2012 £2000)

    UEL summer internship – Do Leptospira in environmental & wildlife pose a risk to human/veterinary health? (2011 £2000)

    UEL School-funded PhD studentship; 3 years. Funded £18250 2013

    Comparative virulence of Campylobacter concisus and Campylobacter jejuni using a novel in vitro model.

    SfAM Students into work (2013 £2500) Bartonella in lice and ticks.

    UEL summer student intern “Presence of non-thermophilic Campylobacter in UK diarrhoeal stools” £2000 Jan 2014

    SfAM Students into work grant “Louse phylogeny and infection” £2500 March 2014.

    UEL mid-career research funding call 2014 £3000 over 1 year. Molecular characterisation of lice.

    UEL School of Health, Sport & Bioscience research funding to undertake multipathogen array screening of human lice £7000 December 2014.

    Probiotics and their ability to interfere with tissue invasion by Campylobacter concisus. 2015 £6100 over 1 year. Probiotics International Ltd (Protexin).

    ECDC Tender partner  “Guidance, data collection and scientific advice on tick-borne diseases” £25,420 UEL component; full grant  £141,497 Jan 2015

    Civic Engagement Funding UEL “Impact of Head Louse Infestations in London” £4450 Nov 2015 over 1 year.