Bacterial SIG

The Bacterial Special Interest Group (BSIG) works under the auspices of BASHH to provide educational and research support in the field of bacterial sexually transmitted infections.

To promote communication between microbiologists and clinicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infection by:

  • Offering courses in specialist areas e.g. microscopy course
  • Production of educational material
  • Organisation of symposia on new areas
  • Arranging update meetings, e.g. syphilis update days



Core Group
  • Professor Emeritus Catherine Ison PhD, FRCPath [Chair]
    Clinical Scientist, Public Health England

  • Dr. Achyuta Nori MBBS, FRCP (UK), DipGUM, DipHIV [OGM Organiser]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Frances Keane MD, FRCP [Secretary]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.

  • Dr. Suneeta Soni MRCP [Web Master]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

  • Dr. Sundar Uthayakumar MMBS, MRCOG, MRCS [Microscopy course coordinator]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Lister Hospital, Stevenage

  • Dr. Sheel Patel FRCP [Treasurer]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    56 Dean Street Clinic, London


Extended group
  • Dr. Sunil Maharjan PhD
    Biomedical Scientist
    National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC)

  • Dr. Elizabeth Claydon FRCP
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    North Devon District Hospital, Devon.

  • Dr. Michelle Cole DBMS
    Clinical Scientist, Public Health England 

  • Dr Claire H Dewsnap FRCP
    Consultant Physician Genitourinary Medicine
    Sheffield Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust

  • Dr. Rachael Drayton MBChB, MRCP, Dip GUM, DipHIV, DFSRH
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Cardiff

  • Dr. Helen Fifer BMBS, MRCP, FRCPath
    Consultant Microbiologist
    Public Health England, Colindale, London.

  • Dr. Emma Harding-Esch, PhD
    Associate Professor,  London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

  • Dr Patrick Horner MD, FRCP
    Consultant Senior Lecturer in Genitourinary Medicine
    Bristol University and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol.

  • Victoria Miari BSc, MSc, PgDip
    Principal Scientific Officer and Clinical Scientist
    London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

  • Alice Pickering RN
    Staff nurse in Sexual Health.
    Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
  • Dr. Amanda Samarawickrama PhD, MBBS, MRCP, DipGUM, DipHIV, DFSRH, DTMH
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Sexual Health South West London
  • Dr John Saunders PhD, MRCP
    Clinical Champion, National Chlamydia Screening Programme
    Public Health England, Colindale, London
  • Dr Rachel Pitt-Kendall MSc
    Senior Biomedical Scientist, Public Health England
How to join the BSIG

Any member of BASHH with an interest in bacterial sexually transmitted infections can apply to join the Bacterial Special Interest Steering Group. For informal enquiries please contact members of the Group directly or via [BASHH, C/O Executive Business Support, City Wharf, Davidson Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14 9DZ, United Kingdom]


Lecture by Professor David Taylor-Robinson

This is a unique opportunity to hear a lecture by Professor David Taylor-Robinson, an eminent microbiologist who discovered Mycoplasma genitalium. David was an original member of the Bacterial Special Interest Group and is an Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London. The keynote lecture was given at the Hic-Vac Annual General Meeting in Liverpool and gives an historical perspective of human challenge studies including the ethical principles that have developed and changed over time. A summary of the content by Professor Taylor Robinson can be seen here and the lecture itself can be viewed by clicking on the link:  





Microscopy for Sexually Transmitted Infections

In anticipation of the new App / Website under development, BASHH has suspended online sales of the DVD. For more information please contact the Bacterial SIG through



STI Slide Bank

Please find below a bank of test slides and corresponding questions put together by members of the BSIG to assess your microscopy interpretation skills.

STI slide-bank



BSIG Microscopy Courses

Date: Postponed. Due to current Covid restrictions we are working on new ways to deliver the teaching and practical content of this course




Microscopy Training

As part of its commitment to training the BSIG have produced the following microscopy competency and assessment documents.

Microscopy for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Appendix 1 Training log

appendix 2 Competency assessment



BSIG Annual Reports

BSIG Annual Report 2019

BSIG Annual Report 2018

BSIG Annual Report 2017

BSIG Annual Report 2016

BSIG Annual Report 2015

BSIG Annual Report 2014

BSIG Annual Report 2013

BSIG Annual Report 2012



Links to other sites

Neisseria gonorrhoeae

The GRASP sentinel surveillance system involves the collection of N. gonorrhoeae isolates from consecutive individuals attending a network of 27 sexual health clinics (SHCs) across England and Wales and their 21 associated laboratories, typically between July and September annually.  Click here for latest GRASP report.




Mycoplasma genitalium

The M. genitalium antimicrobial resistance surveillance (MARS) pilot was established to assess the feasibility of conducting sentinel surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in M. genitalium from specimens collected in sentinel sexual health clinics across England. Click here for the 2019 pilot report.



Test of cure study: a feasibility study to estimate the time to test of cure (TOC) for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infections

B. Sultan, P. Benn, G. Schrembi et al. Sexually transmitted Infections 2020;96:402-407


Please click here for the BASHH Position Statement on the inappropriate use of multiplex testing platforms, and suboptimal antibiotic treatment regimens for bacterial sexually transmitted infections.



SHIP (Sexual Health Improvement Programme: was set up as a Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team in 2013. It brings together experts from across disciplines to improve the sexual health of people in the region and reduce STIs, supporting the commissioning of evidence-based sexual health services. Our priorities are: increasing uptake of HIV testing; improving STI testing and responding to antimicrobial resistant (AMR) infections; increasing patient and public involvement in sexual health and ending stigma; ending domestic violence; reducing health inequalities; implementing informatics and digital transformation; developing a national network for sexual health improvement. A major focus for the next three years will be evaluating and developing strategies, including vaccination, for combating the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in STIs. Stay up-to-date with our newsletters:

STIRIG (Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Interest Group, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) aims to: Help raise awareness of STI-related research being conducted at LSHTM; Increase cross-disciplinary and cross-Faculty work on STIs; Develop internal and external collaborations; Maximise funding opportunities. Find out more at:


Medical Societies


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