Newcastle University, UK

Professor Tracy Palmers is a Professor of Microbiology in the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology at Newcastle University in Tyne & Wear, England. She is known for her work on the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway.

Palmer's main research interest is in the processes by which bacteria secrete proteins into their environment. She was one of the co-discoverers of the bacterial Tat protein secretion system. The Tat system is highly unusual because it transports folded proteins of variable sizes across biological membranes while at the same time maintaining the impermeability of the membrane to ions.

Palmer has initiated work on a second type of protein transporter– the Type VII secretion system (T7SS) in the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Her group have demonstrated for the first time that the T7SS is involved in interbacterial competition by showing that the S. aureus T7SS secretes a large nuclease toxin, which inhibits the growth of closely related S. aureus strains.

Professor Palmer will present the 2020 EMBO Keynote Lecture.