skip to content

Department of Genetics



David Summers is the Deputy Head of the Genetics Department Teaching. His research group has its roots in the study of basic plasmid biology but in recent years has branched out into applied research, including the development of the bacterial cell factory. The main current area of interest is the link between indole and the control of E. coli cell division

Research Interests

Bacterial genetics. Plasmid biology. Control of the bacterial cell cycle. Development of E. coli as a cell factory.

Research Group Links

Summers Group


Key publications: 


  1. Gaimster, H. and Summers, D. (2015) Regulation of Indole Signalling during the Transition of E. coli from Exponential to Stationary Phase. PLoS One 10(9): e0136691
  2. Gaimster, H. and Summers, D. (2015) Plasmids in the driving seat: The regulatory RNA Rcd gives plasmid ColE1 control over division and growth of its E. coli host. Plasmid 78: 59-64
  3. Gaimster, H., Cama, J., Hernández-Ainsa, S., Keyser, U.F. and Summers D.K. The indole pulse: a new perspective on indole signalling in Escherichia coli. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 2; 9(4):e93168
  4. Chimerel, C., Field, C.M., Pinero-Fernandez, S., Keyser, U.F., and Summers, D.K. (2012). Indole prevents Escherichia coli cell division by modulating membrane potential. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1818, 1590-1594
  5. Field, C.M., and Summers, D.K. (2011). Multicopy plasmid stability: Revisiting the dimer catastrophe. J Theor Biol 291, 119-127


Full Publication List


Emeritus University Senior Lecturer
Dr David  Summers
Areas of Interest: 
Microbial genetics and cell signaling
Email address: 
Department of Genetics,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,
Cambridge CB2 3EH,
United Kingdom.
Office phone: 
+44 (0)1223 333991
Takes PhD students