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Mavridou, Despoina

Despoina Mavridou

Assistant Professor
Molecular Biosciences


Phone: 512-475-6864

Office Location
NMS 3.116

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Dr Mavridou is a chemist by degree. After finishing her undergraduate studies at the University of Athens, she proceeded to do a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford working with Stuart Ferguson and Christina Redfield. Her project involved structure-to-function studies of Escherichia coli DsbD, a central protein for disulfide bond formation in the periplasm of Gram-negative bacteria. Following her PhD, Dr Mavridou remained in the same research lab as a postdoctoral research associate continuing her work on disulfide bond formation, while she also branched out to study cytochrome c maturation in E. coli. In 2014 she was awarded an MRC Career Development Award to start her own research group at the MRC Centre of Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CMBI) at Imperial College London. Before starting her fellowship, she spent a year as a research fellow in the Department of Zoology in Oxford, as part of the research groups of Kevin Foster and Stuart West. Her work there focused on the contribution of collective behaviour in bacterial competition. At Imperial College London, Dr Mavridou led her own research team and performed studies in the area of redox biology, bacterial antibiotic resistance and polymicrobial community composition. She joined the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor in March 2020.

We are interested in the biology of Gram-negative bacteria and more specifically in processes that occur in the extra-cytoplasmic environment. Our research approaches span from the fundamental to the applied and our lab currently focuses on three main research directions:

1) Understanding the involvement of disulfide bond formation in mechanisms of virulence and adaptation in key Gram-negative bacterial pathogens

2) Investigating whether proteins involved in cell envelope proteostasis could be potential targets for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

3) Studying the dynamics of bacterial communities and more specifically the competitive interactions between toxin-producing strains encountered in polymicrobial environments.


  • M. Humphrey, G. Larrouy-Maumus, R.C.D. Furniss, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, A. Sabnis and A.M. Edwards (2021) Colistin resistance in Escherichia coli confers protection of the cytoplasmic but not outer membrane from the polymyxin antibiotic, Microbiology, accepted (bioRxiv MS: 2021.07.21.453182)
  • L.M. Nolan, A.K. Cain, T. Clamens, R.C.D. Furniss, E. Manoli, M.A. Sainz-Polo,G. Dougan, D. Albesa-Jové, J. Parkhill, Despoina A.I. Mavridou* and A. Filloux* (2021) Identification of Tse8 as a Type VI secretion system toxin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa that targets the bacterial transamidosome to inhibit protein synthesis in prey cells, Nat. Microbiol., 6(9), 1199-1210 (*joint corresponding author)
  • S.A. Howard, R.C.D. Furniss, D. Bonini, P. Paracuellos-Torrecilla, D. Zlotkin, T. Costa, A. Levy, Despoina A. I. Mavridou and A. Filloux (2021) The breadth and molecular basis of Hcp-driven type six secretion system (T6SS) effector delivery, mBio, 12(3), e0026221
  • A. Sabnis, K.L.H. Hagart, A. Klöckner, M.Becce, L.E. Evans, R.C.D. Furniss, Despoina A. I. Mavridou, R. Murphy, M.M. Stevens, J.C. Davies, G. Larrouy-Maumus, T.B. Clarke and A.M. Edwards (2021) Colistin kills bacteria by targeting lipopolysaccharide in the cytoplasmic membrane, eLife, 10, e65836
  • S.L. Slater and Despoina A.I. Mavridou (2021) Harnessing the potential of bacterial oxidative folding to aid protein production, Mol. Microbiol., 116(1), 16-28
  • P. Bernal, R.C.D. Furniss, S. Fecht, R.C.Y. Leung, L. Spiga, Despoina A.I. Mavridou* and A. Filloux* (2021) Novel structural components produce distinct type VI secretion system anchoring modes, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 118(7), e2008500118 (*joint corresponding author)
  • R. Krishna Kumar, T.A. Meiller-Legrand, A. Alcinesio, D. Gonzalez, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, O.J. Meacock, W.P.J. Smith, L. Zhou, W. Kim, G.S. Pulcu, H. Bayley, K.R. Foster (2021) Droplet printing reveals the importance of micron-scale structure for bacterial ecology, Nat. Commun., 12(1), 857
  • K.P. Ha, R.S. Clarke, G.L. Kim, J.L. Brittan, J.E. Rowley, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, D. Parker, T.B. Clarke, A.H. Nobbs and A.M. Edwards (2020) Staphylococcal DNA repair is required for infection, mBio, 11(6), e02288-20
  • L.S. Stelzl, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, E. Saridakis, D. Gonzalez, A.J. Baldwin, S.J. Ferguson, M.S.P. Sansom and C. Redfield (2020) Local frustration determines loop opening during the catalytic cycle of an oxidoreductase, eLife, 9, e54661
  • R.C.D. Furniss, M. Kostrzewa, Despoina A.I. Mavridou* and G. Larrouy-Maumus* (2020) The clue is in the lipid A: rapid detection of colistin resistance, PLOS Pathog., 16(4), e1008331 (*joint corresponding author)
  • R.C.D. Furniss, L. Dortet, W. Bolland, O. Drews, K. Sparbier, R.A. Bonnin, A. Filloux, M. Kostrzewa, Despoina A.I. Mavridou* and G. Larrouy-Maumus* (2019) Fast and robust detection of colistin resistance in Escherichia coli using the MALDI Biotyper Sirius mass spectrometry system, J. Clin. Microbiol., 57(12), e01427-19 (*joint corresponding author)
  • D. Gonzalez and Despoina A.I. Mavridou (2019) Making the best of aggression: the many dimensions of bacterial toxin regulation, Trends Microbiolol., 27(11), 897-905
  • P. Pissaridou, L.P. Allsopp, S. Wettstadt, S.A. Howard, Despoina A.I. Mavridou and A. Filloux (2018) The Pseudomonas aeruginosa T6SS-VgrG1b spike is topped by a PAAR protein eliciting DNA damage to bacterial competitors, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 115(49), 12519-12524
  • S.H. Shevket, D. Gonzalez, J.L. Cartwright, C. Kleanthous, S.J. Ferguson, C. Redfield and Despoina A.I. Mavridou (2018) The CcmC-CcmE interaction during cytochrome c maturation by System I is driven by protein-protein and not protein-heme contacts, J. Biol. Chem., 293(43), 16778-16790
  • R.C.D. Furniss, W.W. Low, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, L.F. Dagley, A.I. Webb, E. Tate and A. Clements (2018) Plasma membrane profiling during enterohemorrhagic E. coli infection reveals that the metalloprotease StcE cleaves CD55 from host epithelial surfaces., J. Biol. Chem., 115(29), 293(44), 17188-17199 
  • L. Dortet, R. Bonnin, I. Pennisi, L. Gauthier, A.B. Jousset, L. Dabos, R.C.D. Furniss, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, P. Bogaerts, Y. Glupczynski, A. Potron, P. Plésiat, R. Beyrouthy, F. Robin, R. Bonnet, T. Naas, A. Filloux and G. Larrouy-Maumus (2018) Rapid detection and discrimination of chromosome- and MCR-plasmid-mediated resistance to polymyxins by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry: The MALDIxin test, J. Antimicrob. Chemother., 73(12), 3359-3367 
  • D. Gonzalez, A. Sabnis, K.R. Foster and Despoina A.I. Mavridou (2018) Costs and benefits of provocation in bacterial warfare, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 115(29), 7593-7598
  • A.C. Murphey*, Despoina A.I. Mavridou*, J. Hodgkin and S.J. Ferguson (2018) The heme auxotroph Caenorhabditis elegans can cleave the thioether bonds of c-type cytochromes, FEBS Lett., 592(6), 928-938 (*joint first author)
  • Despoina A.I. Mavridou, D. Gonzalez, W. Kim, A. West and K.R. Foster (2018) Bacteria use collective behavior to generate diverse combat strategies, Curr. Biol., 28(3), 345-355
  • M. Valentini, D. Gonzalez, Despoina A.I. Mavridou and A. Filloux (2018) Lifestyle transitions and adaptive pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Curr. Opin. Microbiol., 41, 15-20
  • A.D. Goddard, S. Bali, Despoina A.I. Mavridou, V.M. Luque-Almagro, A.J. Gates, M.D. Roldán, D.J. Richardson and S.J. Ferguson (2017) The Paracoccus denitrificans NarK-like nitrate and nitrite transporters; probing nitrate uptake and nitrate/nitrite exchange mechanisms, Mol. Microbiol., 103(1), 117-133
  • R.B.Y. Lee*, Despoina A.I. Mavridou*, G. Papadakos, H.L.O. McClelland and R.E.M. Rickaby (2016) The uronic acid content of coccolith-associated polysaccharides provides insight into coccolithogenesis and past climate, Nat. Commun., 7, 13144 (*joint first author)
  • Despoina A.I. Mavridou*, D. Gonzalez, Clements and K.R. Foster (2016) The pUltra plasmid series: A robust and flexible tool for fluorescent labeling of Enterobacteria, Plasmid, 87-88, 65-71 (*corresponding author)


  • Nominated participant, “Women at Imperial 2020 Portraits” project, Imperial College London, UK (2020)
  • Nominated participant, “Influential St Peter’s Women” project, St Peter’s College, Oxford, UK (2019)
  • Birmingham Fellows Award from the University of Birmingham (2017, declined)
  • Career Development Award from the Medical Research Council UK (2014)
  • Recognition Award for Excellence in the Department of Biochemistry, Oxford (2013)
  • Onassis Foundation Graduate Scholarship (2005)
  • Gustav Born Graduate Scholarship in Biomedical Sciences (2005)
  • Leventis Foundation Graduate Scholarship (2004)
  • Bodossaki Graduate Scholarship in Science (2004)
  • Mari-Kamara Award for Excellence (2000)
  • Hellenic State Scholarships Foundation Award for Excellence (2000, 2001 and 2003)