Dr. Georgina Cox

Dr. Georgina Cox
Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Phone number: 




My primary research focus is the study of pathogenic bacteria. It was during my graduate studies that I first became fascinated with antibiotic resistance and the intricate mechanisms bacteria have evolved to circumvent the inhibitory action of these small molecules. Following completion of my PhD, I joined the laboratory of Dr. Gerard Wright within the Institute of Infectious Disease Research (IIDR) at McMaster University. My postdoctoral research built upon my existing skills base, involving the structural and molecular characterization of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. My postdoctoral studies also exposed me to cutting edge drug discovery campaigns and the world of natural products. I joined the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph in 2017 and my research continues to investigate antibiotic resistant bacteria and the development of novel strategies to combat infectious diseases.

  • BSc - University of Leeds, Biochemistry with Medical Biochemistry
  • PhD - University of Leeds, Faculty of Biological Sciences
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - IIDR, McMaster University

If significant and rapid advances are not made to combat multi-drug resistant pathogenic bacteria, we will face a major global health crisis. Antibiotics have become a mainstay of modern medicine and without these drugs, common infections will result in fatalities and medical operations will become impossible.

Bacteria harness an impressive and fascinating array of resistance mechanisms in response to toxic molecules. A comprehensive understanding of such mechanisms is essential to overcome this health threat. Utilizing a mixture of structural, molecular and genetic approaches, research in the lab involves gaining insight into two areas: (1) how bacteria resist antibiotics and (2) how they interact with their host. The over-arching goal of our research is to identify and develop innovative alternatives to traditional antibacterial chemotherapy. Those who are interested in such a research program are encouraged to contact us to hear about new and exciting opportunities.

  • Development and validation of a high-throughput whole-cell assay to investigate Staphylococcus aureus adhesion to host ligands
    LE Petrie*, AC Leonard* & G Cox (2020) J Biol Chem doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA120.015360

  • The Evolutionary Conservation of Escherichia coli Drug Efflux Pumps Supports Physiological Functions
    T Teelucksingh*, LK Thompson* & G Cox (2020) Journal of Bacteriology DOI: 10.1128/JB.00367-20

  • Bacterial Anti-adhesives: Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Colonization
    AC Leonard, LE Petrie & G Cox (2019) ACS Infectious Diseases 5(10)

  • Plazomicin Retains Antibiotic Activity against Most Aminoglycoside Modifying Enzymes
    G Cox, L Ejim, PJ Stogios, K Koteva et al., (2018) ACS Infectious Diseases 4(6)

  • Rox, a Rifamycin Resistance Enzyme with an Unprecedented Mechanism of Action
    K Koteva*, G Cox*, JK Kelso*, MD Surette, HL Zubyk, L Ejim, PJ Stogios, A Savchenko, D Sørensen & GD Wright (2018) Cell chemical biology 25, 1-10

  • A common platform for antibiotic dereplication and adjuvant discovery
    G Cox, A Sieron, AM King, G De Pascale, AC Pawlowski, K Koteva & GD Wright (2017) Cell chemical biology 24 (1), 98-109

  • Rifampin phosphotransferase is an unusual antibiotic resistance kinase
    PJ Stogios*, G Cox*, P Spanogiannopoulos, MC Pillon, N Waglechner, T Skarina, K Koteva, A Guarné, A Savchenko & GD Wright (2016) Nature communications 7

  • Structural and molecular basis for resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics by the adenylyltransferase ANT(2’’)-Ia
    G Cox, PJ Stogios, A Savchenko & GD Wright (2015) MBio 6 (1), e02180-14

  • An unusual class of anthracyclines potentiate Gram-positive antibiotics in intrinsically resistant Gram-negative bacteria
    G Cox, K Koteva, GD Wright (2013) Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 69 (7), 1844-1855

  • Intrinsic antibiotic resistance: mechanisms, origins, challenges and solutions
    G Cox, GD Wright (2013) International Journal of Medical Microbiology 303 (6), 287-292

  • Ribosome clearance by FusB-type proteins mediates resistance to the antibiotic fusidic acid
    G Cox, GS Thompson, HT Jenkins, F Peske, A Savelsbergh, MV Rodnina, W Wintermeyer, SW Homans, TA Edwards, AJ O’Neill (2012) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109 (6), 2102-2107

    A complete list of publications can be found here 

Graduate Students:

  • Laura Thompson (MSc)
  • Allison Leonard (PhD)
  • Tanisha Teelucksingh (MSc)
  • Celine Stoica (MSc)
  • Brandon Chin (MBIOT)

Undergraduate Students:

  • James Goetz (NSERC USRA & Undergraduate Project)
  • Noah Kuehfuss (Undergraduate Project)
  • Mackenzie Verhoef (Undergraduate Project)

Previous lab members:

  • Maritza Vatta (Research Technician)
  • Laurenne Petrie (MSc)
  • Allison Leonard (Undergraduate Project, now current PhD student)
  • Laura Thompson (Undergraduate Project, now current MSc student)
  • Austin McElroy (Undergraduate Project)
  • Cyrille Fanhi (Visiting MSc)
  • David Achtymichuk (Undergraduate Project)
  • Hunter Green-Glass (Undergraduate Project)
  • Phi Pham (Undergraduate Project)
  • Julia Murphy (Undergraduate Project & URA)
  • Patricia Karwowski (Undergraduate Project & URA)