Dr Manuel Banzhaf PhD

Dr Manuel Banzhaf

School of Biosciences
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

N127, School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Manuel works as a group leader in the Institute for Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham. His research explores the use of high-throughput approaches to phenotype pathogens. Those methods allow him to study a) the bacterial cell envelope, a cellular compartment harbouring many determinants and processes related to antimicrobial resistance; b) how differences in DNA sequence result in phenotypic variability of pathogens to improve antimicrobial treatment regimens.


  • Birmingham Fellow, Jan 2018 – present
    • Institute of Microbiology and Infection, University of Birmingham (UK)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Sep 2012 – Sep 2017
    • EMBL, Heidelberg (Germany)
  • EMBO Fellow Sep 2010 – Aug 2012
    • Harvard University, Boston (USA)
  • BBSRC PhD student, Jun 2007 – Aug 2010
    • Newcastle University (UK)
  • Diploma student, Aug 2002 – Mai 2007
    • University of Tübingen (Germany)

Postgraduate supervision

Students interested in pursuing internships, a Masters or PhD in Manuel’s group are encouraged to contact him directly to discuss projects currently available.



Gram-negative cell envelope; Systems Biology; Antimicrobial resistance; Biofilms; High-throughput screening;


1. Chemical genomics screens

Bacterial chemical-genomics screens can quantify the impact of each gene on the fitness of the organism subjected to a large number of chemical/environmental perturbations. Chemical-genomics enables the discovery of gene function and facilitates the mapping of pathways, often leading to the identification of drug primary/secondary targets. My laboratory develops chemical genomics screens for important pathogens.

2. Gram-negative envelope biology

Gram-negative bacteria are difficult to eradicate as their cell envelope protects them against environmental insults, such as food preservatives and antimicrobials. Gram-negative bacterial cell envelopes hold special interest because of their dual property as both structural elements, and permeability barriers. The permeability barrier is conferred by the asymmetric lipid bilayer referred to as the outer membrane, which restricts cell entry for toxic compounds, including many antibiotics. Understanding which genes within the bacteria are playing a role in maintaining this envelope is fundamental to understanding its biology. Despite this, genome-wide screens to assay envelope integrity in Gram-negative bacteria are largely missing. My laboratory develops high-throughput approach to systematically assay envelope integrity for important pathogens.

3. Peptidoglycan synthesis

How bacteria grow and divide while retaining a defined shape is a fundamental question in microbiology. My laboratory studies how the shape-maintaining bacterial peptidoglycan sacculus grows combining systems and molecular biology.