Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology

Immunologist turned molecular microbiologist. Using my skills and knowledge to identify and assess genetic determinants of Mycobacterium bovis fitness and survival in the context of the natural bovine host. Interested in host-pathogen interaction, particularly early events leading to infection. 

Since graduating from my PhD in Molecular Immunology I have gained research experience in industry (Philips Healthcare), clinical diagnostics (HPA/PHE) and academia (RVC). I transitioned to academic research first through technology development for point of care devices, then exploring TB in the clinical diagnostic setting and finally to gain research experience in tools and assay development to examine innate immune function. I have used my research experience to investigate the early stages of immune responses to E.coli in a mammary epithelial cell – leukocyte infection model. More recently I use my molecular and cellular skills to identify and assess genetic determinants of mycobacterial fitness and survival in the context of a natural host. 

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working on Mycobacteria determinants of survival in the context of the bovine host. Using transposon directed insertion sequencing (TraDIS) of M.bovis in combination with screening for essential genes for survival in bovine alveolar macrophages and the bovine host.  By comparing surviving mutants post-screening with the initial mutant pool we aim is to discover novel essential mycobacterial genes that will instruct the rational design of DIVA vaccines, antimicrobials and immunotherapies. 

Previous projects:

RVC - Investigating key bacterial and host determinants involved in evoking local and systemic inflammation during E.coli mastitis (EU Consortia under ANIHWA [

RVC - Assessment of species specific Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) ligand interaction (Pfizer Animal Health now Zoetis)

HPA, NMRL, London - Prognostic value of interferon gamma release assays in predicting active tuberculosis among individuals with or at risk of, latent tuberculosis infection

Philips UK, Cambrdige - (1) Impedance spectroscopy for determination of white blood cells and (2) Biofilm management for enhanced oral hygiene 



  1. Kamaruzzaman NF, Tan LP, Mat Yazid KA, Saeed SI, Hamdan RH, Choong SS, Wong WK, Chivu A, Gibson AJ. Targeting the Bacterial Protective Armour; Challenges and Novel Strategies in the Treatment of Microbial Biofilm. Materials (Basel). 2018 Sep 13;11(9). pii: E1705. doi:0.3390/ma11091705. Review. PubMed PMID: 30217006.
  2. Tombácz K, Mwangi D, Werling D, Gibson AJ. Comparison of cellular assays for TLR activation and development of a species-specific reporter cell line for cattle. Innate Immun. 2017 May;23(4):329-335. doi: 10.1177/1753425917695445. Epub 2017 Jan 1. PubMed PMID: 28409540.
  3. Gibson AJ, Woodman S, Pennelegion C, Patterson R, Stuart E, Hosker N, Siviter P, Douglas C, Whitehouse J, Wilkinson W, Pegg SA, Villarreal-Ramos B, Werling D. Differential macrophage function in Brown Swiss and Holstein Friesian cattle. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2016 Feb 28. pii: S0165-2427(16)30026-5. doi:10.1016/j.vetimm.2016.02.018. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26961672.
  4.  Woodman S, Gibson AJ, García AR, Contreras GS, Rossen JW, Werling D, Offord V. Structural characterisation of Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1) and Toll-like receptor 6 (TLR6) in elephant and harbor seals. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2016 Jan;169:10-4. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2015.11.006. Epub 2015 Dec 1. PubMed PMID:26827833.
  5. Conejeros I, Gibson AJ, Werling D, Muñoz-Caro T, Hermosilla C, Taubert A, Burgos RA. Effect of the synthetic Toll-like receptor ligands LPS, Pam3CSK4, HKLM and FSL-1 in the function of bovine polymorphonuclear neutrophils. Dev Comp Immunol. 2015 Oct;52(2):215-25. doi:10.1016/j.dci.2015.05.012. Epub 2015 May 27.PubMed PMID: 26026246.
  6. Patterson NJ, Günther J, Gibson AJ, Offord V, Coffey TJ, Splitter G, Monk I, Seyfert HM, Werling D. Two TIR-like domain containing proteins in a newly emerging zoonotic Staphylococcus aureus strain sequence type 398 are potential virulence factors by impacting on the host innate immune response. Front Microbiol. 2014 Dec 9;5:662. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00662. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25538689; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4260764.
  7. Osvaldova A, Woodman S, Patterson N, Offord V, Mwangi D, Gibson AJ, Matiasovic J, Werling D. Replacement of two aminoacids in the bovine Toll-like receptor 5 TIR domain with their human counterparts partially restores functional response to flagellin. Dev Comp Immunol. 2014 Nov;47(1):90-4. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2014.07.002. Epub 2014 Jul 11. PubMed PMID: 25020193.
  8. Godoy RF, Alves AL, Gibson AJ, Lima EM, Goodship AE. Do progenitor cells from different tissue have the same phenotype? Res Vet Sci. 2014 Jun;96(3):454-9. doi:10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.02.013. Epub 2014 Feb 27. PubMed PMID: 24636541.
  9. Gibson AJ, Coffey TJ, Werling D. Of creatures great and small: the advantages of farm animal models in immunology research. Front Immunol. 2013 May 27;4:124. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00124. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 23750160; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3664326.
  10. Gibson A, Miah S, Griebel P, Brownlie J, Werling D. Identification of a lineage negative cell population in bovine peripheral blood with the ability to mount a strong type I interferon response. Dev Comp Immunol. 2012 Feb;36(2):332-41. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2011.05.002. Epub 2011 May 31. PubMed PMID: 21663757.
  11. Gibson A, Larsson J, Bateman M, Brownlie J, Werling D. Bovine viral diarrhea virus strain- and cell type-specific inhibition of type I interferon pathways. JVirol. 2011 Apr;85(7):3695-7. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02626-10. Epub 2011 Jan 26. PubMedPMID: 21270161; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3067862.
  12. Yamakawa Y, Pennelegion C, Willcocks S, Stalker A, Machugh N, Burt D, Coffey TJ, Werling D. Identification and functional characterization of a bovine orthologue to DC-SIGN. J Leukoc Biol. 2008 Jun;83(6):1396-403. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0807523. Epub 2008 Mar 3. PubMed PMID: 18319290.
  13. Willcocks S, Yamakawa Y, Stalker A, Coffey TJ, Goldammer T, Werling D. Identification and gene expression of the bovine C-type lectin Dectin-1. Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2006 Sep 15;113(1-2):234-42. Epub 2006 Jun 21. PubMed PMID: 16797084.


Conference Papers

5th European Veterinary Immunology Workshop (oral presentation), Vienna, Sept 2015 ‘The Role of Mammary Epithelial Cells in Initiating Early Immune Responses during Mastitis Infection’

BScCompPath - Principles of Pathology Module - Gene Expression & Targeting & Genetic Modification & Disorders 

I am a STEM Ambassador with 

I enjoy actively engaging with outreach and public engagement events each year

Recent Events:

Soapbox Science, Grabriel Warf, London

Spooky Science Event, Royal Institute, London,


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