Bob Hancock

Contact Information
Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research
Lower Mall Research Station
#232, 2259 Lower Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z4
Tel 1-604-822-2682
Fax 1-604-827-5566
Lab Website:

Current Positions

  • Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, Science
  • Director, Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research

Research Interests

Infectious diseases influence all areas of human endeavour. They are responsible for a third of all deaths on the planet, are currently the third leading cause of human deaths in North America, and also have a major impact on agriculture and food safety. However current therapeutic approaches based on antibiotics are under severe threat due to antibiotic resistance and the dearth (and ineffectiveness) of antibiotic discovery programs worldwide.

The Hancock laboratory is engaged in three basic types of research to address this growing problem; understanding the mechanism of action of cationic host defence (antimicrobial) peptides and their role as modulators of innate immunity (including basic functional genomic studies to define the innate immunity network in blood cells); the development of novel therapeutics based on the immunomodulatory and antibiotic activities of host defence peptides; and investigating the functional genomics of a prominent nosocomial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with specific reference to antibiotic resistance and the regulation of resistance and virulence. It is situated in approximately 8000 square feet of lab bench space and 2000 square feet of office space at the Lower Mall Research Station on campus and is well equipped, technologically diverse and well funded.


  1. Mayer ML, Blohmke CJ, Falsafi R, Fjell CD, Madera L, Turvey SE, Hancock RE. Rescue of Dysfunctional Autophagy Attenuates Hyperinflammatory Responses from Cystic Fibrosis Cells. J Immunol. 2012 Dec 21
  2. Breuer K, Foroushani AK, Laird MR, Chen C, Sribnaia A, Lo R, Winsor GL, Hancock RE, Brinkman FS, Lynn DJ.InnateDB: systems biology of innate immunity and beyond–recent updates and continuing curation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jan 1;41(D1):D1228-33.
  3. Breidenstein EB, Janot L, Strehmel J, Fernandez L, Taylor PK, Kukavica-Ibrulj I, Gellatly SL, Levesque RC, Overhage J, Hancock RE. The Lon Protease Is Essential for Full Virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49123.
  4. Rivas-Santiago B, Rivas Santiago CE, Castañeda-Delgado JE, León-Contreras JC, Hancock RE, Hernandez-Pando R. Activity of LL-37, CRAMP and antimicrobial peptide-derived compounds E2, E6 and CP26 against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2012 Nov 7.
  5. Kindrachuk J, Jenssen H, Elliott M, Nijnik A, Magrangeas-Janot L, Pasupuleti M, Thorson L, Ma S, Easton DM, Bains M, Finlay B, Breukink EJ, Sahl HG, Hancock RE. Manipulation of innate immunity by a bacterial secreted peptide: Lantibiotic nisin Z is selectively immunomodulatory. Innate Immun. 2012 Oct 29.
  6. Blohmke CJ, Mayer ML, Tang AC, Hirschfeld AF, Fjell CD, Sze MA, Falsafi R, Wang S, Hsu K, Chilvers MA, Hogg JC, Hancock RE, Turvey SE. Atypical Activation of the Unfolded Protein Response in Cystic Fibrosis Airway Cells Contributes to p38 MAPK-Mediated Innate Immune Responses. J Immunol. 2012 Dec 1;189(11):5467-75.
  7. Fernández L, Alvarez-Ortega C, Wiegand I, Olivares J, Kocíncová D, Lam JS, Martínez JL, Hancock RE. Characterization of the polymyxin B resistome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Oct 15.
  8. Funken H, Bartels KM, Wilhelm S, Brocker M, Bott M, Bains M, Hancock RE, Rosenau F, Jaeger KE. Specific Association of Lectin LecB with the Surface of Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Role of Outer Membrane Protein OprF.PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46857.
  9. Fernández L, Hancock RE. Adaptive and mutational resistance: role of porins and efflux pumps in drug resistance. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2012 Oct;25(4):661-81.
  10. Lin L, Tan B, Pantapalangkoor P, Ho T, Baquir B, Tomaras A, Montgomery JI, Reilly U, Barbacci EG, Hujer K, Bonomo RA, Fernandez L, Hancock RE, Adams MD, French SW, Buslon VS, Spellberg B. Inhibition of LpxC protects mice from resistant Acinetobacter baumannii by modulating inflammation and enhancing phagocytosis. MBio. 2012 Oct 2;3(5). Fernández L, Jenssen H, Bains M, Wiegand I, Gooderham WJ, Hancock RE. The Two-Component System CprRS Senses Cationic Peptides and Triggers Adaptive Resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Independently of ParRS. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Dec;56(12):6212-22.
  11. Steinstraesser L, Hirsch T, Schulte M, Kueckelhaus M, Jacobsen F, Mersch EA, Stricker I, Afacan N, Jenssen H, Hancock RE, Kindrachuk J. Innate defense regulator peptide 1018 in wound healing and wound infection. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e39373.
  12. Bains M, Fernández L, Hancock RE. Phosphate starvation promotes swarming motility and cytotoxicity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Sep;78(18):6762-8.
  13. Madera L, Hancock RE. Synthetic immunomodulatory peptide IDR-1002 enhances monocyte migration and adhesion on fibronectin. J Innate Immun. 2012;4(5-6):553-68.
  14. Breen EC, Malloy JL, Tang K, Xia F, Fu Z, Hancock RE, Overhage J, Wagner PD, Spragg RG. Impaired pulmonary defense against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in VEGF gene inactivated mouse lung. J Cell Physiol. 2013 Feb;228(2):371-9.
  15. Garlapati S, Garg R, Brownlie R, Latimer L, Simko E, Hancock RE, Babiuk LA, Gerdts V, Potter A, van Drunen Littel-van den Hurk S. Enhanced immune responses and protection by vaccination with respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein formulated with CpG oligodeoxynucleotide and innate defense regulator peptide in polyphosphazene microparticles. Vaccine. 2012 Jul 27;30(35):5206-14.
  16. Gellatly SL, Needham B, Madera L, Trent MS, Hancock RE. The Pseudomonas aeruginosa PhoP-PhoQ two-component regulatory system is induced upon interaction with epithelial cells and controls cytotoxicity and inflammation. Infect Immun. 2012 Sep;80(9):3122-31.
  17. Bouffartigues E, Gicquel G, Bazire A, Bains M, Maillot O, Vieillard J, Feuilloley MG, Orange N, Hancock RE, Dufour A, Chevalier S. Transcription of the oprF gene of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is dependent mainly on the SigX sigma factor and is sucrose induced. J Bacteriol. 2012 Aug;194(16):4301-11.
  18. Nijnik A, Clare S, Hale C, Chen J, Raisen C, Mottram L, Lucas M, Estabel J, Ryder E, Adissu H; Sanger Adams NC, Ramirez-Solis R, White JK, Steel KP, Dougan G, Hancock RE. The role of sphingosine-1-phosphate transporter Spns2 in immune system function. Mouse Genetics Project,  J Immunol. 2012 Jul 1;189(1):102-11.
  19. de la Fuente-Núñez C, Mertens J, Smit J, Hancock RE. The bacterial surface layer provides protection against antimicrobial peptides. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Aug;78(15):5452-6.
  20. Achtman AH, Pilat S, Law CW, Lynn DJ, Janot L, Mayer ML, Ma S, Kindrachuk J, Finlay BB, Brinkman FS, Smyth GK, Hancock RE, Schofield L. Effective adjunctive therapy by an innate defense regulatory peptide in a preclinical model of severe malaria. Sci Transl Med. 2012 May 23;4(135):135ra64.
  21. Kazemzadeh-Narbat M, Noordin S, Masri BA, Garbuz DS, Duncan CP, Hancock RE, Wang R. Drug release and bone growth studies of antimicrobial peptide-loaded calcium phosphate coating on titanium. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2012 Jul;100(5):1344-52.
  22. Yeung AT, Parayno A, Hancock RE. Mucin promotes rapid surface motility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. MBio. 2012 May 1;3(3).
  23. Nijnik A, Pistolic J, Filewod NC, Hancock RE. Signaling pathways mediating chemokine induction in keratinocytes by cathelicidin LL-37 and flagellin. J Innate Immun. 2012;4(4):377-86.
  24. Breidenstein EB, Bains M, Hancock RE. Involvement of the lon protease in the SOS response triggered by ciprofloxacin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Jun;56(6):2879-87.
  25. Hancock RE, Nijnik A, Philpott DJ. Modulating immunity as a therapy for bacterial infections. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Mar 16;10(4):243-54.
  26. Gao G, Cheng JT, Kindrachuk J, Hancock RE, Straus SK, Kizhakkedathu JN. Biomembrane interactions reveal the mechanism of action of surface-immobilized host defense IDR-1010 peptide. Chem Biol. 2012 Feb 24;19(2):199-209.1. de la Fuente-Núñez C, Korolik V, Bains M, Nguyen U, Breidenstein EB, Horsman S, Lewenza S, Burrows L, Hancock RE. Inhibition of bacterial biofilm formation and swarming motility by a small synthetic cationic peptide.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Feb 21. [Epub ahead of print]
  27. Nijnik A, Pistolic J, Cho P, Filewod NC, Falsafi R, Ramin A, Harder KW, Hancock RE. The role of the Src family kinase Lyn in the immunomodulatory activities of cathelicidin peptide LL-37 on monocytic cells. J Leukoc Biol. 2012 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print]
  28. Afacan NJ, Yeung AT, Pena OM, Hancock RE. Therapeutic Potential of Host Defense Peptides in Antibiotic-resistant Infections.Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(6):807-19.
  29. Wang G, Elliott M, Cogen AL, Ezell EL, Gallo RL, Hancock RE. Structure, Dynamics, and Antimicrobial and Immune Modulatory Activities of Human LL-23 and Its Single-Residue Variants Mutated on the Basis of Homologous Primate Cathelicidins. Biochemistry. 2012 Jan 17;51(2):653-64.
  30. Nijnik A, Clare S, Hale C, Raisen C, McIntyre RE, Yusa K, Everitt AR, Mottram L, Podrini C, Lucas M, Estabel J, Goulding D; Sanger Institute Microarray Facility; Sanger Mouse Genetics Project, Adams N, Ramirez-Solis R, White JK, Adams DJ, Hancock RE, Dougan G. The critical role of histone H2A-deubiquitinase Mysm1 in hematopoiesis and lymphocyte differentiation. Blood. 2012 Feb 9;119(6):1370-9.
  31. Fjell CD, Hiss JA, Hancock RE, Schneider G. Designing antimicrobial peptides: form follows function. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2011 Dec 16;11(1):37-51.
  32. Fernández L, Breidenstein EB, Song D, Hancock RE. Role of Intracellular Proteases in the Antibiotic Resistance, Motility, and Biofilm Formation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Feb;56(2):1128-32.
  33. Brown TH, David J, Acosta-Ramirez E, Moore JM, Lee S, Zhong G, Hancock RE, Xing Z, Halperin SA, Wang J. Comparison of immune responses and protective efficacy of intranasal prime-boost immunization regimens using adenovirus-based and CpG/HH2 adjuvanted-subunit vaccines against genital Chlamydia muridarum infection. Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):350-60.
  34. Afacan NJ, Fjell CD, Hancock RE. A systems biology approach to nutritional immunology – focus on innate immunity. Mol Aspects Med. 2012 Feb;33(1):14-25.
  35. Ma M, Kazemzadeh-Narbat M, Hui Y, Lu S, Ding C, Chen DD, Hancock RE, Wang R. Local delivery of antimicrobial peptides using self-organized TiO(2) nanotube arrays for peri-implant infections. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2011 Nov 1. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.33251. [Epub ahead of print]
  36. Wuerth K, Hancock RE. New insights into cathelicidin modulation of adaptive immunity. Eur J Immunol. 2011 Oct;41(10):2817-9.
  37. Schreiber F, Lynn DJ, Houston A, Peters J, Mwafulirwa G, Finlay BB, Brinkman FS, Hancock RE, Heyderman RS, Dougan G, Gordon MA. The human transcriptome during nontyphoid Salmonella and HIV coinfection reveals attenuated NFkappaB-mediated inflammation and persistent cell cycle disruption. J Infect Dis. 2011 Oct 15;204(8):1237-45.
  38. Gao G, Yu K, Kindrachuk J, Brooks DE, Hancock RE, Kizhakkedathu JN. Antibacterial surfaces based on polymer brushes: investigation on the influence of brush properties on antimicrobial peptide immobilization and antimicrobial activity. Biomacromolecules. 2011 Oct 10;12(10):3715-27.
  39. Turner-Brannen E, Choi KY, Lippert DN, Cortens JP, Hancock RE, El-Gabalawy H, Mookherjee N. Modulation of interleukin-1β-induced inflammatory responses by a synthetic cationic innate defence regulator peptide, IDR-1002, in synovial fibroblasts. Arthritis Res Ther. 2011 Aug 11;13(4):R129.
  40. Garlapati S, Eng NF, Kiros TG, Kindrachuk J, Mutwiri GK, Hancock RE, Halperin SA, Potter AA, Babiuk LA, Gerdts V. Immunization with PCEP microparticles containing pertussis toxoid, CpG ODN and a synthetic innate defense regulator peptide induces protective immunity against pertussis. Vaccine. 2011 Sep 2;29(38):6540-8. Epub 2011 Jul 21.



  • Postdoctoral, Berkeley (1977-78)
  • Postdoctoral, Tübingen (1975-77)
  • Ph.D., Adelaide, 1974

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