Dr Sara Jabbari BA, PhD

Dr Sara Jabbari

School of Mathematics
Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sara Jabbari is Senior Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, focusing on mathematical biology. Her group uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand microbial behaviour, with a particular focus on using mathematical modelling to develop or improve novel treatments for bacterial infections. By combining models with relevant experimental data, they study bacteria from the intra-cellular level up to host-pathogen interactions to identify and refine relevant experimental work with a view to accelerating drug development. Mathematical techniques used include numerical and asymptotic analyses combined with reliable model parameterisation.


  • PhD Mathematical Biology, University of Nottingham, 2007
  • BA Mathematics, Durham University, 2003


Sara Jabbari graduated from Durham University in 2003, incorporating a year of study at the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France. She went on to complete a PhD in mathematical modelling of cell-cell bacterial communication under the supervision of Prof. John R. King at the University of Nottingham.

Following a post-doc position on an international interdisciplinary systems biology project examining biofuel production by bacteria, in 2011 Sara was awarded a Biomedical Informatics Fellowship from the MRC. This has provided her with invaluable laboratory experience for carrying out and designing interdisciplinary projects. Sara was appointed a Birmingham Fellow in 2012 to explore mathematical modelling of medically significant microorganisms. In addition to her role in the School of Mathematics, she is a member of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, the Healthcare Technologies Research Institute and the Centre for Computational Biology at Birmingham.


Research themes

  • Mathematical modelling, particularly applied to biological systems, e.g. gene regulation networks.
  • The use of asymptotic methods to analyse and simplify mathematical models.

Research activity

 Mathematical modelling of:

  • Novel treatments for bacterial infections
  • The emergence of antimicrobial resistance
  • Gene regulation networks
  • Biological signalling pathways (e.g. quorum sensing)

While most of her group’s work centres on bacteria, they also study fungal and viral dynamics, in addition to host responses to disease and inflammation. Fully funded research projects led by Sara include "A systems biology approach to understanding and combating Clostridium difficile infection" (MRC) and "Maths-AIM: A mathematical and experimental approach for the rational assessment of bacterial Adhesion Inhibitor Materials in vivo" (BBSRC). Past and present members of her group include:

  • Dr Paul Roberts (BBSRC funded mathematics PDRA) []
  • Chloe Spalding (EPSRC funded mathematics PhD student)
  • Will Thomson (EPSRC funded mathematics PhD student)
  • George Youlden (EPSRC funded mathematics PhD student, joint programme with University of Nottingham)
  • Sarah Inglesfield (Wellcome Trust funded PhD student, Mechanisms of Inflammatory Disease (MIDAS) 
  • Emma Keen (BBSRC funded wet-lab technician)
  • Veronika Matei (Wellcome Trust funded PhD rotation student, Mechanisms of Inflammatory Disease (MIDAS)
  • Laura Bravo (Wellcome Trust funded PhD rotation student, Mechanisms of Inflammatory Disease (MIDAS)
  • Ryan Kerr (Wellcome Trust funded PhD rotation student, Antimicrobials and Antimicrobial Resistance)


  • Roberts, P. A., Huebinger, R. M., Keen, E., Krachler, A. & Jabbari, S. (2018). Predictive modelling of a novel anti-adhesion therapy to combat bacterial colonisation of burn wounds. PLoS Computational Biology 14(5), e1006071.
  • Inglesfield, S., Jasiulewicz, A., Hopwood, M., Tyrrell, J., Youlden, G., Mazon-Moya, M., Millington, O.R., Mostowy, S., Jabbari, S., Voelz, K. (2018). Robust phagocyte recruitment controls the opportunistic fungal pathogen Mucor circinelloides in innate granulomas in vivo. mBio 9(2), e02010-17.
  • Spalding, C., Keen, E., Smith, D. J., Krachler, A-M., & Jabbari, S. (2018). Mathematical modelling of the antibiotic-induced morphological transition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PLoS Computational Biology, 14(2), e1006012.
  • Goodall, E. C. A., Robinson, A., Johnston, I. G., Jabbari, S., Turner, K. A., Cunningham, A. F., ... Henderson, I. R. (2018). The essential genome of Escherichia coli K-12. mBio, 9(1), e02096-17.
  • O'Donoghue, E., Sirisaengtaksin, N., Browning, D., Bielska, E., Hadis, M., Fernandez-Trillo, F., ... Krachler, A. M. (2017). Lipopolysaccharide structure impacts the entry kinetics of bacterial outer membrane vesicles into host cells. PLoS Pathogens, 13(11), e1006760.
  • Jabbari, S., Fleming-Davies, A., Robertson, S. L., Asih, T. S. N., Lanzas, C., Lenhart, S., & Theriot, C. M. (2017). Mathematical modeling of the effects of nutrient competition and bile acid metabolism by the gut microbiota on colonization resistance against Clostridium difficile. In A. Layton, & L. Miller (Eds.), Women in Mathematical Biology: Research Collaboration Workshop, NIMBioS, Knoxville, June 2015.
  • Ternent L., Dyson R.J., Krachler A.-M., Jabbari S. (2015) Bacterial fitness shapes the population dynamics of antibiotic-resistant and -susceptible bacteria in a model of combined antibiotic and anti-virulence treatment. J. Theor. Biol. 372:1-11.
  • Jabbari S., Cartman S.T., King J.R. (2014), Mathematical modelling reveals properties of TcdC required for it to be a negative regulator of toxin production in Clostridium difficile. J. Math. Biol. 70:773-804.
  • Fletcher S.J., Iqbal M., Jabbari S., Stekel D., Rappoport J.Z. (2014), Computational modelling of occludin trafficking, demonstrating continuous endocytosis, degradation, recycling and biosynthetic secretory trafficking. PLoS ONE 9: e111176.
  • Jabbari S., Steiner E., Heap J.T., Winzer K., Minton N.P., King J.R. (2013), The putative influence of the agr operon upon survival mechanisms used by Clostridium acetobutylicum. Math. Biosci.243: 223-239.
  • Thorn G.J., King J.R., Jabbari S. (2013), pH-induced gene regulation of solvent production by Clostridium acetobutylicum in continuous culture: parameter estimation and sporulation modelling. Bull. Math. Biol.241:149-66.
  • Jabbari S., King J.R., Williams P. (2012), Cross-strain quorum sensing inhibition by Staphylococcus aureus. Part 1: a spatially homogeneous model. Bull. Math. Biol., 74: 1292-1325.
  • Jabbari S., King J.R., Williams P. (2012), Cross-strain quorum sensing inhibition by Staphylococcus aureus. Part 2: a spatially inhomogeneous model. Bull. Math. Biol., 74: 1326-1353.
  • Brown R.J.P., Hudson N., Wilson G., Rehman S.U., Jabbari, S., Hu K., Tarr A.W., Borrow P., Joyce M., Lewis J., Zhu L.F., Law M., Kneteman N., Tyrrell D.L., McKeating J.A., Ball J.K. (2012), Hepatitis C virus envelope glycoprotein fitness defines virus population composition following transmission to a new host. J. Virol., 86: 11956-11966.
  • Haus S., Jabbari S., Millat T., Janssen H., Fischer R.J., Bahl H., King J.R., Wolkenhauer O. (2011) A systems biology approach to investigate the effect of pH-induced gene regulation on solvent production by Clostridium acetobutylicum in continuous culture. BMC Syst. Biol., 5:10. 
  • Jabbari S., Heap J.T., King J.R. (2011) Mathematical modelling of the sporulation-initiation network in Bacillus subtilis revealing the dual role of the putative quorum-sensing signal molecule PhrA. Bull. Math. Biol., 73:181-211.
  • Jabbari S., King J.R., Williams P. (2010) A mathematical investigation of the effects of inhibitor therapy on three putative phosphorylation cascades governing the two-component system of the agr operon. Math. Biosci., 225: 115-131.
  • Jabbari S., King J.R., Koerber A.J., Williams P. (2010) Mathematical modelling of the agr operon in Staphylococcus aureus. J. Math. Biol., 61:17-54.