David Sherratt is distinguished for his work to elucidate aspects of bacterial genetics that are important for conferring potency and antibiotic resistance. He has made discoveries in the inheritance and control of plasmid numbers, and revealed the molecular processes and specificity of bacterial genetic recombination.
Bacteria use genetic tools to help them survive and be virulent. This includes the possession of extrachromosomal genes in the form of circles of DNA called plasmids, and relocating fragments of DNA called transposons. David has been at the forefront of these genetic phenomena from the outset of his career, helping to inform the development of antibiotics and vaccines.