Professor Vassiliy Bavro

School of Life Sciences
Professor Vassiliy Bavro
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872243

  • Location

    3SW.5.19, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Director MSc Molecular Medicine - BS 5.19 - Tuesday 14:00 -15:00



Structural biologist with interests in membrane protein crystallography and integrative structural biology approaches, including structural mass-spectrometry. Research areas cover bacterial transporters involved in antibiotic resistance and ion channels. Protein structure-function relationships and involvement in disease.


  • PhD (supervisor Prof. Winfried Weissenhorn) European Molecular Biology Laboratory, (2003)

  • MSc Biochemistry and Microbiology (supervisor Prof.Shawn Doonan) University of East London, (1996)

  • MSc Biochemistry and Microbiology Sofia University, (1996)

  • BSc Molecular Microbiology Sofia University, (1994)


University of Essex

  • Professor of Structural Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, University of Essex (1/10/2021 - present)

  • Reader in Membrane Protein Science, Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1/5/2016 - 30/9/2021)

  • Convenor Protein Structure and Function Group (PSFG), Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1/8/2017 - 1/9/2021)

  • Director MSc Molecular Medicine, Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1/8/2017 - present)

Other academic

  • Director Postgraduate Taught (PGT), School of Life Sciences, University of Essex (1/8/2022 - present)

  • Professor of Structural Microbiology and Membrane Protein Science, School of Life Sciences, University of Essex (1/10/2021 - present)

  • Reader in Membrane Protein Science, Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1/5/2016 - 30/9/2021)

  • Director MSc Molecular Medicine, Biological Sciences, University of Essex (1/8/2017 - 1/9/2021)

  • Senior Visiting Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Birmingham (1/5/2016 - 1/5/2020)

  • Birmingham Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Birmingham (1/2/2012 - 30/4/2016)

  • PI in Structural Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Birmingham (1/2/2012 - 1/4/2016)

  • Senior Post Doctoral Research Associate, Physics, University of Oxford (1/1/2008 - 1/1/2012)

  • Marie Curie Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (1/1/2005 - 1/1/2007)

  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (12/10/2003 - 1/1/2005)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Membrane protein crystallography

Key words: membrane proteins
Open to supervise

Antimicrobial Resistance

Our group is interested in the molecular mechanisms of multidrug resistance provided by the tripartite efflux pumps in Gram-negative bacteria. We are seeking to understand the mechanistic aspects of the assembly and substrate recognition in these multicomponent molecular machines.

Key words: multidrug efflux pumps
Open to supervise

Integrative structural biology approaches

Key words: X-ray radiolytic footprinting
Open to supervise

Ion channels

Key words: Ion channels
Open to supervise

Metal transport in bacteria

Key words: Copper homeostasis
Open to supervise

Antigen target selection and vaccine development

Key words: Vaccine
Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Chairing the Gordon Research Conference Topic Debate

Invited presentation, GRC Efflux Pumps - 2023, Gordon Research Conference - Efflux Pumps, Galveston, United States, 27/3/2023

Structural and functional characterisation of the gating mechanism of the outer membrane factor MtrE from Neisseria gonorrhoeae

BacPath 2019, Bacpath15, Perth, Australia, 30/9/2019

Integrative structural biology of tripartite efflux-pumps and the cell envelope in Gram-negative bacteria

Invited presentation, Antibiotic Discovery Accelerator Network Inaugural Meeting, Antibiotic Discovery Accelerator Network (ABX), Eden Project, United Kingdom, 11/7/2019

Gordon Research Conference (GRC) Efflux pumps 2019

Conference, Gordon Research Conference (GRC) Efflux pumps 2019, Lucca, Italy, 29/4/2019

Biophysical Society Conference

Conference, BPS 62 Annual Meeting, San Francisco, United States, 18/2/2018

Immunological assessment of the nature of binding of protective antibodies to the Gram-negative envelope reveals a complex role of LPS O-chain in restricting protection from vaccination.

Invited presentation, Conference, BacPath 14 - Molecular Biology of Bacterial Pathogens 2017, Hahndorf, Australia, 27/9/2017

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Transferable Skills in Life Sciences (BS143)

  • Protein Bioinformatics (BS281)

  • Biomembranes and Bioenergetics (BS332)

  • Molecular Mechanisms of Disease (BS938)


Journal articles (44)

Alav, I., Bavro, VN. and Blair, JMA., (2022). A role for the periplasmic adaptor protein AcrA in vetting substrate access to the RND efflux transporter AcrB. Scientific Reports. 12 (1), 4752-

Trampari, E., Zhang, C., Gotts, K., Savva, G., Bavro, V. and Webber, M., (2022). Cefotaxime Exposure Selects Mutations within the CA-Domain of envZ Which Promote Antibiotic Resistance but Repress Biofilm Formation in Salmonella. Microbiology Spectrum. 10 (3), e0214521-

Blair, JMA., Zeth, K., Bavro, VN. and Sancho-Vaello, E., (2022). The role of bacterial transport systems in the removal of host antimicrobial peptides in Gram-negative bacteria.. FEMS Microbiology Reviews. 46 (6), fuac032-fuac032

Souabni, H., dos Santos, WB., Cece, Q., Catoire, LJ., Puvanendran, D., Bavro, VN. and Picard, M., (2021). Quantitative real-time analysis of the efflux by the MacAB-TolC tripartite efflux pump clarifies the role of ATP hydrolysis within mechanotransmission mechanism. Communications Biology. 4 (1), 493-

Alav, I., Kobylka, J., Kuth, MS., Pos, KM., Picard, M., Blair, JMA. and Bavro, VN., (2021). Structure, Assembly, and Function of Tripartite Efflux and Type 1 Secretion Systems in Gram-Negative Bacteria. Chemical Reviews. 121 (9), 5479-5596

Alav, I., Bavro, VN. and Blair, JMA., (2021). Interchangeability of periplasmic adaptor proteins AcrA and AcrE in forming functional efflux pumps with AcrD in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 76 (10), 2558-2564

Moolla, N., Bailo, R., Marshall, R., Bavro, VN. and Bhatt, A., (2021). Structure-function analysis of MmpL7-mediated lipid transport in mycobacteria. The Cell Surface. 7, 100062-100062

Javid, A., Cooper, C., Singh, A., Schindler, S., Hänisch, M., Marshall, R., Kalscheuer, R., Bavro, VN. and Bhatt, A., (2020). The mycolic acid reductase Rv2509 has distinct structural motifs and is essential for growth in slow growing mycobacteria. Molecular Microbiology. 113 (2), 521-533

Domínguez-Medina, CC., Pérez-Toledo, M., Schager, AE., Marshall, JL., Cook, CN., Bobat, S., Hwang, H., Chun, BJ., Logan, E., Bryant, JA., Channell, WM., Morris, FC., Jossi, SE., Alshayea, A., Rossiter, AE., Barrow, PA., Horsnell, WG., MacLennan, CA., Henderson, IR., Lakey, JH., Gumbart, JC., López-Macías, C., Bavro, VN. and Cunningham, AF., (2020). Outer membrane protein size and LPS O-antigen define protective antibody targeting to the Salmonella surface. Nature Communications. 11 (1), 851-

Johnson, RM., Fais, C., Parmar, M., Cheruvara, H., Marshall, RL., Hesketh, SJ., Feasey, MC., Ruggerone, P., Vargiu, AV., Postis, VLG., Muench, SP. and Bavro, VN., (2020). Cryo-EM Structure and Molecular Dynamics Analysis of the Fluoroquinolone Resistant Mutant of the AcrB Transporter from Salmonella. Microorganisms. 8 (6), 943-943

Marshall, RL. and Bavro, VN., (2020). Mutations in the TolC periplasmic domain affect substrate specificity of the AcrAB-TolC pump. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences. 7, 166-

Bryant, JA., Morris, FC., Knowles, TJ., Maderbocus, R., Heinz, E., Boelter, G., Alodaini, D., Colyer, A., Wotherspoon, PJ., Staunton, KA., Jeeves, M., Browning, DF., Sevastsyanovich, YR., Wells, TJ., Rossiter, AE., Bavro, VN., Sridhar, P., Ward, DG., Chong, Z-S., Goodall, ECA., Icke, C., Teo, A., Chng, S-S., Roper, DI., Lithgow, T., Cunningham, AF., Banzhaf, M., Overduin, M. and Henderson, IR., (2020). Structure of dual-BON domain protein DolP identifies phospholipid binding as a new mechanism for protein localization.. eLife. 9, 1-61

Conn, GL., Bavro, VN. and Davies, C., (2019). Editorial: Bacterial Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance: A Structural Perspective. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences. 6, 71-

McNeil, HE., Alav, I., Corona Torres, R., Rossiter, AE., Laycock, E., Legood, S., Kaur, I., Davies, M., Wand, M., Webber, MA., Bavro, VN. and Blair, JMA., (2019). Identification of binding residues between periplasmic adapter protein (PAP) and RND efflux pumps explains PAP-pump promiscuity and roles in antimicrobial resistance.. PLoS Pathogens. 15 (12), e1008101-e1008101

Straw, ML., Chaplin, AK., Hough, MA., Paps, J., Bavro, VN., Wilson, MT., Vijgenboom, E. and Worrall, JAR., (2018). A cytosolic copper storage protein provides a second level of copper tolerance in Streptomyces lividans.. Metallomics: integrated biometal science. 2018 (10), 180-193

Lu, W-J., Lin, H-J., Janganan, TK., Li, C-Y., Chin, W-C., Bavro, VN. and Lin, H-TV., (2018). ATP-Binding Cassette Transporter VcaM from Vibrio cholerae is Dependent on the Outer Membrane Factor Family for Its Function.. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 19 (4), 1000-1000

Abdullah, N., Kelly, JT., Graham, SC., Birch, J., Gonçalves-Carneiro, D., Mitchell, T., Thompson, RN., Lythgoe, KA., Logan, N., Hosie, MJ., Bavro, VN., Willett, BJ., Heaton, MP. and Bailey, D., (2018). Structure-Guided Identification of a Nonhuman Morbillivirus with Zoonotic Potential. Journal of Virology. 92 (23)

Sen, H., Aggarwal, N., Ishionwu, C., Hussain, N., Parmar, C., Jamshad, M., Bavro, VN. and Lund, PA., (2017). Structural and functional analysis of the Escherichia coli acid-sensing histidine kinase EvgS. Journal of Bacteriology. 199 (18), e00310-e00317

Bavro, VN., Gupta, S. and Ralston, C., (2015). Oxidative footprinting in the study of structure and function of membrane proteins: Current state and perspectives. Biochemical Society Transactions. 43 (5), 983-994

Browning, DF., Bavro, VN., Mason, JL., Sevastsyanovich, YR., Rossiter, AE., Jeeves, M., Wells, TJ., Knowles, TJ., Cunningham, AF., Donald, JW., Palmer, T., Overduin, M. and Henderson, IR., (2015). Cross-species chimeras reveal BamA POTRA and β-barrel domains must be fine-tuned for efficient OMP insertion. Molecular Microbiology. 97 (4), 646-659

Zubcevic, L., Wang, S., Bavro, VN., Lee, S-J., Nichols, CG. and Tucker, SJ., (2015). Modular design of the selectivity filter pore loop in a novel family of prokaryotic inward rectifier' (NirBac) channels. Scientific Reports. 5 (1), 15305-

Bernardes, A., Textor, LC., Santos, JC., Cuadrado, NH., Kostetsky, EY., Roig, MG., Bavro, VN., Muniz, JRC., Shnyrov, VL. and Polikarpov, I., (2015). Crystal structure analysis of peroxidase from the palm tree Chamaerops excelsa. Biochimie. 111, 58-69

Blair, JMA., Bavro, VN., Ricci, V., Modi, N., Cacciotto, P., Kleinekathӧfer, U., Ruggerone, P., Vargiu, AV., Baylay, AJ., Smith, HE., Brandon, Y., Galloway, D. and Piddock, LJV., (2015). AcrB drug-binding pocket substitution confers clinically relevant resistance and altered substrate specificity.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (11), 3511-3516

Symmons, MF., Marshall, RL. and Bavro, VN., (2015). Architecture and roles of periplasmic adaptor proteins in tripartite efflux assemblies.. Frontiers in Microbiology. 6 (MAY), 513-

Weeks, JW., Bavro, VN. and Misra, R., (2014). Genetic assessment of the role of AcrB β-hairpins in the assembly of the TolC-AcrAB multidrug efflux pump of Escherichia coli.. Molecular Microbiology. 91 (5), 965-975

Zubcevic, L., Bavro, VN., Muniz, JRC., Schmidt, MR., Wang, S., De Zorzi, R., Venien-Bryan, C., Sansom, MSP., Nichols, CG. and Tucker, SJ., (2014). Control of KirBac3.1 potassium channel gating at the interface between cytoplasmic domains.. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 289 (1), 143-151

Janganan, TK., Bavro, VN., Zhang, L., Borges‐Walmsley, MI. and Walmsley, AR., (2013). Tripartite efflux pumps: energy is required for dissociation, but not assembly or opening of the outer membrane channel of the pump. Molecular Microbiology. 88 (3), 590-602

Browning, DF., Matthews, SA., Rossiter, AE., Sevastsyanovich, YR., Jeeves, M., Mason, JL., Wells, TJ., Wardius, CA., Knowles, TJ., Cunningham, AF., Bavro, VN., Overduin, M. and Henderson, IR., (2013). Mutational and topological analysis of the Escherichia coli BamA protein.. PLoS One. 8 (12), e84512-e84512

Bavro, VN., De Zorzi, R., Schmidt, MR., Muniz, JRC., Zubcevic, L., Sansom, MSP., Vénien-Bryan, C. and Tucker, SJ., (2012). Structure of a KirBac potassium channel with an open bundle crossing indicates a mechanism of channel gating. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 19 (2), 158-163

Janganan, TK., Bavro, VN., Zhang, L., Matak-Vinkovic, D., Barrera, NP., Venien-Bryan, C., Robinson, CV., Borges-Walmsley, MI. and Walmsley, AR., (2011). Evidence for the assembly of a bacterial tripartite multidrug pump with a stoichiometry of 3:6:3.. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 286 (30), 26900-26912

Janganan, TK., Zhang, L., Bavro, VN., Matak-Vinkovic, D., Barrera, NP., Burton, MF., Steel, PG., Robinson, CV., Borges-Walmsley, MI. and Walmsley, AR., (2011). Opening of the outer membrane protein channel in tripartite efflux pumps is induced by interaction with the membrane fusion partner.. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 286 (7), 5484-5493

Wang, SC., Politis, A., Di Bartolo, N., Bavro, VN., Tucker, SJ., Booth, PJ., Barrera, NP. and Robinson, CV., (2010). Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry of Two Tetrameric Membrane Protein Complexes Reveals Compact Structures and Differences in Stability and Packing. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 132 (44), 15468-15470

Gupta, S., Bavro, VN., D'Mello, R., Tucker, SJ., Vénien-Bryan, C. and Chance, MR., (2010). Conformational Changes During the Gating of a Potassium Channel Revealed by Structural Mass Spectrometry. Structure. 18 (7), 839-846

Paynter, JJ., Andres-Enguix, I., Fowler, PW., Tottey, S., Cheng, W., Enkvetchakul, D., Bavro, VN., Kusakabe, Y., Sansom, MSP., Robinson, NJ., Nichols, CG. and Tucker, SJ., (2010). Functional complementation and genetic deletion studies of KirBac channels: activatory mutations highlight gating-sensitive domains.. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 285 (52), 40754-40761

Misra, R. and Bavro, VN., (2009). Assembly and transport mechanism of tripartite drug efflux systems. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Proteins and Proteomics. 1794 (5), 817-825

Barrera, NP., Isaacson, SC., Zhou, M., Bavro, VN., Welch, A., Schaedler, TA., Seeger, MA., Miguel, RN., Korkhov, VM., van Veen, HW., Venter, H., Walmsley, AR., Tate, CG. and Robinson, CV., (2009). Mass spectrometry of membrane transporters reveals subunit stoichiometry and interactions. Nature Methods. 6 (8), 585-587

Lin, HT., Bavro, VN., Barrera, NP., Frankish, HM., Velamakanni, S., van Veen, HW., Robinson, CV., Borges-Walmsley, MI. and Walmsley, AR., (2009). MacB ABC transporter is a dimer whose ATPase activity and macrolide-binding capacity are regulated by the membrane fusion protein MacA.. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 284 (2), 1145-1154

Bavro, VN., Pietras, Z., Furnham, N., Pérez-Cano, L., Fernández-Recio, J., Pei, XY., Misra, R. and Luisi, B., (2008). Assembly and Channel Opening in a Bacterial Drug Efflux Machine. Molecular Cell. 30 (1), 114-121

Pietras, Z., Bavro, V., Furnham, N., Pellegrini-Calace, M., Milner-White, E. and Luisi, B., (2008). Structure and Mechanism of Drug Efflux Machinery in Gram Negative Bacteria. Current Drug Targets. 9 (9), 719-728

Worrall, JAR., Górna, M., Crump, NT., Phillips, LG., Tuck, AC., Price, AJ., Bavro, VN. and Luisi, BF., (2008). Reconstitution and analysis of the multienzyme Escherichia coli RNA degradosome.. Journal of Molecular Biology. 382 (4), 870-883

Mokrab, Y., Bavro, VN., Mizuguchi, K., Todorov, NP., Martin, IL., Dunn, SMJ., Chan, SL. and Chau, P-L., (2007). Exploring ligand recognition and ion flow in comparative models of the human GABA type A receptor. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling. 26 (4), 760-774

Sola, M., Bavro, VN., Timmins, J., Franz, T., Ricard-Blum, S., Schoehn, G., Ruigrok, RWH., Paarmann, I., Saiyed, T., O'Sullivan, GA., Schmitt, B., Betz, H. and Weissenhorn, W., (2004). Structural basis of dynamic glycine receptor clustering by gephyrin. The EMBO Journal. 23 (13), 2510-2519

Fernandez-Recio, J., Walas, F., Federici, L., Venkatesh Pratap, J., Bavro, VN., Miguel, RN., Mizuguchi, K. and Luisi, B., (2004). A model of a transmembrane drug-efflux pump from Gram-negative bacteria. FEBS Letters. 578 (1-2), 5-9

Bavro, VN., Sola, M., Bracher, A., Kneussel, M., Betz, H. and Weissenhorn, W., (2002). Crystal structure of the GABA A ‐receptor‐associated protein, GABARAP. EMBO reports. 3 (2), 183-189

Book chapters (2)

Marshall, RL. and Bavro, VN., (2019). Multidrug Resistance. In: Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics From Molecules to Man. Editors: Bonev, B. and Brown, N., . John Wiley & Sons. 201- 237. 9781119940777

Zgurskaya, HI., Bavro, VN., Weeks, JW. and Krishnamoorthy, G., (2016). Multidrug Efflux in the Context of Two-Membrane Cell Envelopes. In: Efflux-Mediated Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria. Editors: Li, X-Z., Elkins, C. and Zgurskaya, HI., . Springer. 99- 128. 978-3-319-39656-9

Conferences (3)

Grassi, F., Bavro, VN. and Kleinekathöfer, U., (2016). What Keeps TolC Closed? Insights from Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Bavro, VN., De Zorzi, R., Schmidt, MR., Muniz, JRC., Zubcevic, L., Sansom, MSP., Venien-Bryan, C. and Tucker, SJ., (2012). Crystal Structure of a Prokaryotic Kir Channel in an Open Conformation

Gupta, S., D'Mello, R., Chance, MR., Bavro, VN., Venien-Bryan, C. and Tucker, SJ., (2010). Radiolytic Footprinting Reveals Conformational Changes During Potassium Channel Gating

Reports and Papers (2)

Bavro, V., Alav, I. and Blair, J., (2021). The membrane-proximal domain of the periplasmic adapter protein plays a role in vetting substrates utilising channels 1 and 2 of RND efflux transporters

Trampari, E., Holden, E., Wickham, G., Anuradha, R., Prischi, F., de Oliveira Martins, L., Savva, G., Bavro, VN. and Webber, M., (2019). Antibiotics select for novel pathways of resistance in biofilms

Grants and funding


Replacement EPR spectrometer to the multiuser Biomedical EPR Facility at the University of Essex

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council


Protein Detection Kit

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Development of novel cancer treatments: structural studies of Nectin 4 in complex with bespoke anti-cancer peptides

Bicycle Therapeutics


Mapping the interactions within multidrug efflux pump assemblies

Biotechnology & Biology Science Res.Council

Elucidating the interaction of antibiotics with multidrug efflux-pumps

Wellcome Trust

+44 (0) 1206 872243


3SW.5.19, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Director MSc Molecular Medicine - BS 5.19 - Tuesday 14:00 -15:00