Professor Stefania Spanò

Professor Stefania Spanò

Professor of Microbiology

Professor Stefania SpanòIt is with deep sadness that the University of Aberdeen is letting visitors to Professor Spanò's web page know of Stefania's sudden and unexpected death in September 2019.

Stefania was a valued colleague and collaborator and a friend to many of us in the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) and the broader School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition. Her drive and expertise helped in the creation of the multidisciplinary Centre for Bacteria in Health and Disease, of which she was the Director. The Centre brings together researchers from across the university, the NHS and industry who have an interest in the roles that bacteria play in health and disease and aims to develop innovative therapies.

Stefania joined the University as a Senior Lecturer in the IMS in October 2013 and was subsequently promoted to a Personal Chair in August 2017. Stefania came to Aberdeen from Yale University, having been part of a laboratory pioneering work to find a cure for the life-threatening bacterial disease, Typhoid Fever. This disease affects millions of people and kills more than 200,000 every year.

Stefania further developed her research interests on Salmonella at Aberdeen. A central question of her research was to understand why some people are immune to the bacteria that causes Typhoid Fever, Salmonella Typhi, and then use that knowledge to help prevent or cure the disease.

Stefania was a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, an arm of the Royal Society that identifies and supports the work of our future scientific leaders. She won a European Research Consolidator 5-year grant in 2017, a prestigious and highly competitive award that few staff achieve. This followed grants from the BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust and a Marie Curie Fellowship to a member of her lab.

Stefania was a highly respected, liked and popular colleague and teacher, and she will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with her.

Professor Paul Fowler,
IMS Director

Professor Stefania Spanò's Biography


  • 1995: Laurea (MSc; summa cum laude) in Biological Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy
  • 2002: PhD in Life Sciences, Open University, London, UK

Research Positions

  • 2017 - 2019: Personal Chair (Full Professor)
  • 2013 - 2017: Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen
  • 2009 - 2013: Associate Research Scientist, Dep. of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, USA
  • 2004 - 2009: Postdoctoral Associate Dep. of Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale University School of Medicine, USA
  • 2002 - 2004: Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cell Biology and Oncology, "Consorzio Mario Negri Sud" Research Institute, Italy

Key contributions to advances in the Salmonella molecular pathogenesis research field

  • Solano-Collado V, Rofe A, Spanò S. (2018) Rab32 restriction of intracellular bacterial pathogens. Small GTPases; 9(3):216-223.
  • Spanò S, Galán JE. (2018) Taking control: Hijacking of Rab GTPases by intracellular bacterial pathogens. Small GTPases; 9(1-2):182-191.
  • Spanò S, Gao X, Hannemann S, Lara-Tejero M, Galán JE. (2016). A Bacterial Pathogen Targets a Host Rab-Family GTPase Defense Pathway with a GAP. Cell Host Microbe.; 19(2):216-26.
  • Spanò S. (2016) Mechanisms of Salmonella Typhi Host Restriction. Adv Exp Med Biol.; 915:283-94.
  • Spanò S. (2014) Host restriction in Salmonella: insights from Rab GTPases. Cell Microbiol.; 16(9):1321-8.
  • Kohler AC, Spanò S, Galán JE, Stebbins CE. (2014) Structural and enzymatic characterization of a host-specificity determinant from Salmonella. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr.; 70(Pt 2):384-91.
  • Spanò S, Galán JE. (2013) A novel anti-microbial function for a familiar Rab GTPase. Small GTPases; 4(4):252-4.
  • Spanò S, Galán JE. (2012) A Rab32-dependent pathway contributes to Salmonella typhi host restriction. Science; 16;338(6109):960-3.
  • Spanò S, Liu X, Galán JE. (2011) Proteolytic targeting of Rab29 by an effector protein distinguishes the intracellular compartments of human-adapted and broad-host Salmonella. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.; 108(45):18418-23.
  • Spanò S, Galán JE. (2008) A novel pathway for exotoxin delivery by an intracellular pathogen. Curr Opin Microbiol.; 11(1):15-20.
  • Spanò S, Ugalde JE, Galán JE. (2008) Delivery of a Salmonella Typhi exotoxin from a host intracellular compartment. Cell Host Microbe.; 3(1):30-8.