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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Dr Nikola Ojkic



Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7882 8364
Room Number: 4.20 G.E. Fogg Building


Dr Ojkic teaches Microbiology on the Biomedical Sciences Joint Programme with Nanchang University.


Research Interests:

My group investigates biochemical and biophysical principles of bacterial cell shape and size control. We aim to understand how different core cellular components such as DNA, membranes, cell wall and ribosomes control bacterial cell shapes. We are also interested in how bacteria respond to different environmental and stress conditions and how bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. 
Our group uses multi-disciplinary approaches that combine microbiological experiments, imaging, image analysis, biophysical modelling and computer simulations. By understanding how bacterial cells transform their physiology, metabolic pathways, cell shape and size under different antibiotic perturbations, we will be able to develop new strategies for effectively killing pathogenic bacteria.
We are also interested in how bacterial cells respond to starvation while making long-lasting bacterial spores. We collaborate with sporulation expert Javier López-Garrido and his group at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany.  


Google Scholar

  1. N. Ojkic, D. Serbanescu, S. Banerjee: “Antibiotic resistance via bacterial cell shape-shifting”, mBio, 13 (3), e00659-22 (2022)
  2. D. Serbanescu, N. Ojkic, S. Banerjee: “Cellular resource allocation strategies for cell size and shape control in bacteria”, FEBS J, doi: 10.1111/febs.16234 (2021)
  3. G. Benn, I. Mikheyeva, P. Inns, J. Forster, N Ojkic, C. Bortolini, M. Ryadnov, C. Kleanthous, T. Silhavy, B. Hoogenboom, “Phase separation in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli”, PNAS, 118, 44 (2021)
  4. N. Ojkic, S. Banerjee, “Bacterial cell shape control by nutrient-dependent synthesis of cell division inhibitors”, Biophys J, 120, 2079-2084 (2021)
  5. S. Banerjee, K. Lo, N. Ojkic, R. Stephens, N. F. Scherer, A. R. Dinner, “Mechanical feedback promotes bacterial adaptation to antibiotics”, Nature Phys, 17, 403-409 (2021)
  6. D. Serbanescu, N. Ojkic, S. Banerjee, “Nutrient-dependent trade-offs between ribosomes and division protein synthesis control bacterial cell size and growth”, Cell Rep, 32, 108183 (2020)
  7. N. Ojkic, E. Lilja, S. Direito, A. Dawson, R. J. Allen, B. Waclaw,"A roadblock-and-kill mechanism of action model for the DNA-targeting antibiotic ciprofloxacin", Antimicrob Agents Chemother, e02487-19 (2020)
  8. N. Ojkic, D. Serbanescu, S. Banerjee, “Surface-to-volume scaling and aspect ratio preservation in rod-shaped bacteria”, eLife, 8:e47033, (2019)
  9. J. López-Garrido*, N. Ojkic*, K. Khanna, F. Wagner, E. Villa, R. Endres, K. Pogliano, “Chromosome translocation inflates Bacillus forespores and impacts cellular morphology”, Cell, p758–770.e14 (2018), *equal contribution
  10. C. Watson, P. Hush, J. Williams, A. Dawson, N. Ojkic, S. Titmuss, B. Waclaw, “Reduced adhesion between cells and substrate confers selective advantage in bacterial colonies”, Europhys Lett, 123, 6 (2018)
  11. N. Ojkic, J. López-Garrido, K. Pogliano, R. G. Endres, “Cell-wall remodeling drives engulfment during Bacillus subtilis sporulation”, eLife, 5:e18657 (2016)
  12. N. Ojkic, J. López-Garrido, K. Pogliano, R. G. Endres, “Bistable forespore engulfment in B. subtilis by a zipper mechanism in absence of the cell wall”, PLoS Comp Biol, 10 (2014)
  13. D. Laporte, N. Ojkic, D. Vavylonis and J.-Q. Wu, "Alpha-actinin and fimbrin organize actomyosin bundles during the self-assembly of the contractile ring" Mol Biol Cell, 23:3094-3110 (2012)
  14. N. Ojkic, J.-Q. Wu and D. Vavylonis, "Model of Myosin Node Aggregation into a Contractile Ring: the Effect of Local Alignment”, J Phys Condens Matter, 23, 374103 (2011)
  15. T. Xu, H. Li, T. Shen, N. Ojkic, D. Vavylonis, X. Huang "Extraction and analysis of actin networks based on open active contour models," Proc. of the IEEE Int'l, Biomedical Imaging: From Nano to Macro, 8, 1334 (2011)
  16. N. Ojkic and D. Vavylonis, "Kinetics of Myosin Node Aggregation into a Contractile Ring," Phys Rev Lett, 105, 048102 (2010) 
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