Edinburgh Pathology

Dr Mary Hanson

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer


+44 (0) 131 242 1947

+44 (0)131 537 1926


Consultant Medical Microbiologist

Director, Scottish E coli O157/ VTEC Reference Laboratory

Department of Laboratory Medicine

Edinburgh BioQuarter

51 Little France Crescent

Edinburgh EH16 4SA

Research Interests

Dr Mary Hanson is a Consultant Microbiologist within NHS Lothian and the Director of the Scottish E coli O157/STEC Reference Laboratory (SERL).

E coli O157 and other Shiga toxin- producing E coli (STEC) cause haemorrhagic colitis which may result in Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome and other potentially fatal complications. New laboratory technologies, including whole genome sequencing of STEC organisms, have the potential to optimize timely clinical management of cases, and public health interventions to reduce transmission and prevent outbreaks. At the SERL, we are engaged in research to underpin the use of sequencing in the detection of clusters and outbreaks of infection, and to elucidate the sources of infection in food, water and the environment, with the aim of reducing the burden of disease in Scotland. We have strong research links with veterinary colleagues in the University of Edinburgh and with epidemiology and Public Health colleagues at Health Protection Scotland.

Research on bloodstream infection with Candida sp (candidaemia): Candidaemia is predominantly a healthcare associated infection and the incidence is high in Scotland compared with reported incidence rates in England and Wales. Attributable mortality is also high (>30%) and the infection occurs in a wide spectrum of patient groups. Our research has provided valuable information on the epidemiology and risk factors for candidaemia in patients with a variety of debilitating conditions, and supports the development of clinical strategies for prevention and treatment of these serious infections.


Drs Lesley Allison and Anne Holmes, Department of Laboratory Medicine, NHS Lothian

Prof David Gally, Professor of Microbial Genetics, Roslin Institute

Dr Alison Smith- Palmer, Senior Epidemiologist, Health Protection Scotland

Dr Margo Chase- Topping, Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Web links

Research Gate Profile

Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratories, Edinburgh

Edinburgh and Lothians Laboratory Medicine

Selected Publications

The utility of Whole Genome Sequencing of Escherichia coli O157 for outbreak detection and epidemiological surveillance. Anne Holmes, Lesley Allison, Melissa Ward, Timothy J Dallman, Richard Clark, Angie Fawkes, Lee Murphy, Mary Hanson. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 09/2015; DOI:10.1128/JCM.01066-15

Applying phylogenomics to understand the emergence of Shiga Toxin producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains causing severe human disease in the United Kingdom.  Dallman T, Ashton P, Byrne L, Perry N, Petrovska L, Ellis R, Allison L, Hanson M, Holmes A, Gunn G, Chase-Topping M, Woolhouse M, Grant K, Gally D, Wain J, Jenkins C. 14/09/2015. Microbial Genomics 1(3): doi:10.1099/mgen.0.000029

Validation of whole genome sequencing for identification and characterization of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli to produce standardized data to enable data sharing. Holmes A, Dallman TJ, Shabaan S, Hanson M, Allison L. 2018. J Clin Microbiol 56:e01388-17. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01388-17

Gene flow in environmental Legionella pneumophila leads to genetic and pathogenic heterogeneity within a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. McAdam PR, Vander Broek CW, Lindsay DS, Ward MJ, Hanson MF, Gillies M, Watson M, Stevens JM, Edwards GF, Fitzgerald JR. Genome Biol. 2014;15(11):504. PubMed PMID: 25370747; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4256819.

 A Prospective Surveillance Study of Candidaemia: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, Antifungal Treatment and Outcome in Hospitalized Patients. Rajendran R, Sherry L, Deshpande A, Johnson EM, Hanson MF, Williams C, Munro CA, Jones BL and Ramage G (2016) Front. Microbiol. 7:915. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00915