Mathew Stracy
Junior Research Fellow in Biochemistry


After an undergraduate degree in physics, I spent several years working in science communication, first writing articles about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and later developing interactive events at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Five years ago I decided to take the leap back into actually doing science, starting a DPhil at the University of Oxford. I’ve always had broad scientific interests, so I ended up with a highly interdisciplinary thesis, involving physics, programming, microbiology, and genetics. During my DPhil I developed super-resolution microscopy techniques and used these methods to study transcription and DNA repair at the molecular level inside living bacteria.


In my research I use a number of quantitative microscopy techniques combined with microfluidics to study how bacteria survive antibiotic treatment. Many bacterial infections cannot be cured, even when caused by a pathogen that is not resistant to antibiotics. Central to this effect is the presence of a small population of cells called persisters, which enter a dormant state that protects them from a broad range of antibiotics. After treatment finishes, the surviving persisters can resume growth causing recurrent and chronic infections. Eradicating persisters is a crucial step towards treating these chronic infections, but persister cells are rare, which makes them difficult to study. I use microscopy to look at variation between individual cells to determine which cells survive treatment, and at what point they become susceptible again.


  • Stracy M, Kapanidis AN, (2017). Single-molecule and super-resolution imaging of transcription in living bacteria. Methods, 120, 103–114.
  • Garza de Leon F, Sellars L, Stracy M, Busby SJW, Kapanidis AN (2017). Tracking low-copy transcription factors in living bacteria: the case of lac repressor. Biophysical Journal. 112(7), 1316–1327.
  • Lamberte LE, Baniulyte G, Singh SS, Stringer AM, Bonocora R, Stracy M, Kapanidis AN, Wade JT, Grainger DC (2017). A molecular explanation for the toxicity of horizontally acquired AT-rich genes in bacteria. Nature Microbiology. 2, 16249.
  • Stracy M, Jaciuk M, Uphoff S, Kapanidis AN, Nowotny M, Sherratt DJ, Zawadzki P (2016). Single-molecule imaging of UvrA and UvrB recruitment to DNA lesions in living Escherichia coli. Nature Communications. 7, 12568.
  • Zawadzki P, Stracy M, Ginda K, Zawadzka K, Lesterlin C, Kapanidis AN, Sherratt DJ (2015). The localization and action of topoisomerase IV in Escherichia coli chromosome segregation is coordinated by the SMC complex, MukBEF. Cell Reports. 13(11), 2587-2596.
  • Stracy M, Lesterlin C, Garza de Leon F, Uphoff S, Zawadzki P, Kapanidis AN (2015). Live-cell superresolution microscopy reveals the organization of RNA polymerase in the bacterial nucleoid. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 112(32), 201507592.
  • Stracy M, Uphoff S, Garza de Leon F, Kapanidis AN (2014) In vivo single-molecule imaging of bacterial DNA replication, transcription, and repair. FEBS Letters. 588(19), 3585–3594.