Mark Achtman

Mark Achtman

Mark Achtman in 2015, portrait via the Royal Society
Alma mater
Scientific career
ThesisA Genetic Study of the F-Factor (1969)

Mark Achtman FRS is Professor of Bacterial Population Genetics at Warwick Medical School, part of the University of Warwick in the UK.


Achtman was educated at the University of Manitoba where he was awarded a Master of Science degree in 1965 for research on hemagglutination in adenovirus. He went on to complete a PhD on bacterial fertility factor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969.


Achtman's research interests are in the population genetics of pathogenic bacteria such as Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella, Yersinia pestis, Neisseria meningitidis, Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori, and Bordetella. Achtman was one of the inventors of multilocus sequence typing. His research has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC).

Awards and honours

Achtman was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2015. His nomination reads:

Mark Achtman co-pioneered the development of bacterial population genetics and carried out influential studies characterising strains associated with epidemics of meningococcal disease in Africa. He has undertaken remarkable and highly innovative studies on the human gut pathogen, Helicobacter pylori, showing its ancient association with humans and the ability of genetic studies of this pathogen to complement linguistic and human genetic studies to trace the ancient migrations of its human host. He has also carried out elegant and incisive genetic studies of Yersinia pestis to explore the origins and spread of plague pandemics.


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