Dr Patrick Moynihan PhD

Dr Patrick Moynihan

School of Biosciences
Senior Research Fellow/BBSRC David Phillips Fellow

Contact details

E105, School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr. Moynihan is a Senior Research Fellow and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow in the School of Biosciences. His group employs multi-disciplinary approach to study the pathogenic mycobacteria. He is primarily interested in the molecular rules that underpin complex interactions between bacteria and their host, with an emphasis on the modulation of cell wall structures.


  • BSc. (Hons.) in Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Guelph
  • MSc in Microbiology, University of Guelph
  • PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph


Patrick grew up in a small community in rural Ontario, Canada. He moved away for his University studies, and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. Upon completion, he stayed at Guelph to pursue his graduate training in the laboratory of Professor Anthony Clarke where he developed a love for biochemistry and the bacterial cell wall. He then moved with his family to Birmingham in 2014 to take up a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Professor Gurdyal Besra.

After 18 months Patrick was successful in obtaining a Future Leader Fellowship from the Biotechnology Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to study mycobacterial cell wall recycling. At the conclusion of this Fellowship in 2019, Patrick was able to secure a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship, which enabled him to start as a group leader in the School of Biosciences.

Postgraduate supervision

Patrick is always keen to welcome enthusiastic individuals to the lab. Contact him directly to discuss projects currently available. Details of funding available for PhD students in the School of Biosciences are available here. Patrick is committed to supporting an inclusive and welcoming research environment.


The cell wall is the key interface between bacteria and their environment. For a human pathogen like Mycobacterium tuberculosis that environment can be radically different during different stages of infection. The cell wall is comprised of a range of different molecules including a diverse group of complex glycopolymers. As with so many facets of biology, these structures are not static and their shape and composition can determine the outcome of interactions between the bacterium and its host or environment (summarised below). Work in Patrick’s laboratory focuses on how mycobacteria alter their cell wall in response to different environments, and how they turn cell wall structures over to support their growth and division.

All of this work incorporates a broad range of tools, drawn from microbiology, biochemistry, structural biology and analytical chemistry.

Other activities

Patrick and his lab are always looking for ways to share our science with the public. He is active on Twitter (@pmoyniha) and manages a separate account (@GlcNAcMurNAc) which shares new papers on peptidoglycan.


Recent publications:

  1. Moynihan, P. J.*, Cadby, I. T., Veerapen, N., Jankute, M., Crosatti, M., Mukamolova, G. V., Lovering, A. L., and Besra, G. S. (2019) The hydrolase LpqI primes mycobacterial peptidoglycan recycling. Nat Commun. 10, 2647 * = corresponding author
  2. Harding, C. J., Cadby, I. T., Moynihan, P. J., and Lovering, A. L. (2021) A rotary mechanism for allostery in bacterial hybrid malic enzymes. Nat Commun. 12, 1–12

For a current list of publications from Patrick’s laboratory check his Google Scholar profile. 

View all publications in research portal