Research Staff - Dr Slade Jensen

Slade Jensen Photo
Position: Research Associate
Phone: + 61 2 9351 5998 (Office)
Fax: +61 2 9351 4771
Mobile Phone: +61 413 157 868
Location: Room 216
Address: A12 - Macleay, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia 
Links: Molecular Genetics Lab

Areas of Interest

I am interested in microbial evolution and the mechanisms that facilitate genetic exchange between bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) plays an important role in the acquisition of new properties, such as pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance, and is therefore a driving force in “short-term” evolution, allowing bacteria to be masters of adaptation. The development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is a major healthcare problem around the world and strains commonly become resistant by acquiring pre-existing resistance determinants from the bacterial gene pool. Mobile genetic elements, such as plasmids, transposons and insertion sequences, play a central role in facilitating HGT and therefore promote the acquisition and spread of these resistance determinants. As such, bacterial populations can rapidly become resistant when exposed to an antimicrobial agent.

Strains of Staphylococcus aureus "Golden Staph” are a major cause of hospital-acquired infections and most clinical strains contain multiple resistance plasmids. My research focuses on molecular mechanisms, such as active DNA segregation and co-ordinated transcriptional regulation, that contribute to the capacity of staphylococcal plasmids to acquire and maintain resistance genes in the absence of selective pressure (i.e. antimicrobial agents). I am also interested in the mechanisms that facilitate chromosomal DNA segregation in the staphylococci.

Research Output

Recent Grants

  • NHMRC Project Grant (2009-2011). "DNA segregation in multiresistant Staphylococcus aureus". CIs: N. Firth, M.A. Schumacher, S.O. Jensen & R.A. Skurray.
  • NHMRC Project Grant (2007-2009). "Molecular mechanisms of plasmid maintenance in multiply-resistant staphylococci". CIs: N. Firth, M.A. Schumacher, S.M. Kwong, S.O. Jensen & R.A. Skurray.

Selected Journal Publications

  • Ni, L.*, Jensen, S. O.*, Tonthat, N. T., Berg, T., Kwong, S. M., Guan, F. H. X., Brown, M. H., Skurray, R. A., Firth, N. and Schumacher, M. A. (2009). The Staphylococcus aureus pSK41 plasmid-encoded ArtA protein is a master regulator of plasmid transmission genes and contains a RHH motif used in alternate DNA-binding modes. Nucleic Acids Research. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp756.
    *Joint first authors
  • Jensen, S.O. and Lyon, B.R. (2009). Genetics of antimicrobial resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. Future Microbiology. 4: 565-582.
  • LeBard, R.J., Jensen, S.O., Arnaiz, I.A., Skurray, R.A. & Firth, N. (2008). A multimer resolution system contributes to segregational stability of the prototypical staphylococcal conjugative multiresistance plasmid pSK41. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 284: 58-67.
  • Jensen, S.O., Kwong, S.M., Lyon, B.R., and Firth, N. (2008). Evolution of multiple drug resistance in staphylococci. Microbiology Australia. 29: 120-124.
  • Schumacher, M.A., Glover, T.C., Brzoska, A.J., Jensen, S.O., Dunham, T.D., Skurray, R.A. and Firth, N. (2007). Segrosome structure revealed by a complex of ParR with centromere DNA. Nature. 450: 1268-1271.
  • Jensen, S. O., Thompson, L. S. and Harry, E. J. (2005). Cell division in Bacillus subtilis: FtsZ and FtsA association is Z-ring independent, and FtsA is required for efficient midcell Z-ring assembly. Journal of Bacteriology. 187: 6536-6544.

Selected Abstracts (presenter underlined)

  • Slade O. Jensen, Lisheng Ni, Fiona Guan, Stephen M Kwong, Tracey Berg, Melissa H Brown, Ronald A Skurray, Nam Ky Tonthat, Maria A Schumacher and Neville Firth (2009). Functional and Structural Analysis of ArtA, a Master Transcriptional Regulator of Conjugative Staphylococcal Multiresistance Plasmids. National Conference on the Molecular Biology of Bacterial Pathogens (BacPath 10), Barossa Valley, Adelaide.
  • Michael Liu, Stephen Kwong, Angela Connolly, Stuart Cordwell, Cindy Pon, Slade Jensen, Rebecca LeBard, Danielle Davies, William Figgett, Evelyn Lai, Alvina Sarosh, Susan Yeow, Deborah Barton, Robyn Overall, Ronald Skurray and Neville Firth (2009). Replication and Maintenance of Staphylococcal Resistance Plasmids. Australian Society for Microbiology National Conference, Perth, Australia.
  • Slade O. Jensen, Rebecca J. LeBard, Danielle S. Davies, William A. Figgett, Evelyn Lai, Ronald A. Skurray and Neville Firth (2008). Novel Maintenance Mechanism of Staphylococcal Multi-resistance Plasmids. International Plasmid Biology Conference, Gdansk, Poland.
  • Slade O. Jensen, Rebecca J. LeBard, Danielle S. Davies, William A. Figgett, Evelyn Lai, Ronald A. Skurray and Neville Firth (2008). Novel Maintenance Determinant carried by Staphylococcal Multiresistance Plasmids. International Symposium on Staphylococci and Staphylococcal Infections, Cairns, Australia.
  • Maria A. Schumacher, Tiffany C. Glover, Anthony J. Brzoska, Slade O. Jensen, Thomas Dunham, Ronald A. Skurray,. and Neville Firth (2007). Segrosome structure revealed by ParR-centromere complex. Southwest Macromolecular Symposium, Texas, USA.
  • Slade O. Jensen, Anthony J. Brzoska, Rebecca J. LeBard, Danielle S. Davies, William A. Figgett, Ronald A. Skurray and Neville Firth (2007). Maintenance Mechanisms of Multi-resistance Plasmids from Staphylococci. National Conference on the Molecular Biology of Bacterial Pathogens (BacPath 9), Lorne, Victoria.
  • Slade O. Jensen, Fiona Guan, Stephen M. Kwong, Tracey Berg, Melissa H. Brown, Ronald A. Skurray and Neville Firth (2006). Global Regulation of Survival Functions in Conjugative Staphylococcal Multiresistance Plasmids. Abstracts of the 2006 International Symposium on Plasmid Biology, Fallen Leaf Lake, California, USA.
  • Anthony J. Brzoska, Slade O. Jensen, Danielle S. Davies, Ronald A. Skurray and Neville Firth (2005). Partitioning of the Staphylococcal Multi-resistance Plasmid pSK41. Abstracts of the 2005 Australian Society for Microbiology National Conference, Canberra, Australia.