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Tracy Palmer

Tracy Palmer

Professor Tracy Palmer FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2018




Tracy is a molecular microbiologist and her major interest is in the processes by which bacteria secrete proteins into their environment. She was one of the co-discoverers of the bacterial Tat protein secretion system. The Tat system is highly unusual because it transports folded proteins of variable sizes across biological membranes while at the same time maintaining the impermeability of the membrane to ions. Tracy has published more than 80 papers on this topic.

More recently Tracy has initiated work on a second type of protein transporter– the Type VII secretion system (T7SS) in the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Her group have demonstrated for the first time that the T7SS is involved in interbacterial competition by showing that the S. aureus T7SS secretes a large nuclease toxin, which inhibits the growth of closely related S. aureus strains.

Tracy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Biology and the American Academy of Microbiology, and a member of the European Academy of Microbiology and the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

Professional positions

Professor of Microbiology, Biosciences Institute, Newcastle University

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology, Molecular microbiology
  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
    • General microbiology (incl bacteriology and virology)


Membrane proteins, protein secretion, protein trafficking, bacterial physiology, bacterial protein targeting, membrane protein assembly, bacteriology, bacterial communities

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