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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Dr Joe Latimer

Lecturer in Antimicrobial Resistance


I first studied at Lancaster University, which was a fantastic broad grounding in biological sciences. After a year of travelling I moved to Manchester to take the MSc in Medical and Molecular Microbiology.

I then worked in London for a while, but missed the North. I moved to the department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Sheffield, and studied for a PhD in biofilm physiology under Professor Robert Poole. I developed a chemostat model to grow biofilms for transcriptomic profiling and discovered that Escherichia coli forms biofilms more efficiently in the absence of oxygen.

After the PhD, I worked in Malawi with Ripple Africa, teaching biology, training teachers and helping out at the local rural hospital. This was a fantastic experience and I retain strong ties with the community in which I lived.

I returned to Manchester in 2009 and joined NeuTec Pharma, where I discovered a target for an antibody therapy candidate against Clostridium difficile. However, the call of academia was strong, and I returned to the University of Manchester in 2010, developing models to investigate anti-biofilm and anti-bacterial effects of oral healthcare formulations - research that had a direct impact on the development of healthcare products. I also pursued a side-project characterising the adaptation of Staphylococcus aureus to triclosan, which highlighted the remarkable ability of bacteria to adapt to their surroundings.

In order to pursue my interests in host-microbe interactions, I chose a second postdoctoral position in 2015 with Dr Cath O’Neill investigating the roles of the skin microbiome in barrier disruption and inflammation. I developed a reproducible ex-vivo skin model to explore the complex interactions of our skin with our resident bacteria.

I moved to the University of Salford in 2016, where I combine my interests in bacteria, biofilms, host-microbe interactions and antimicrobials. I want to enthuse a new generation of microbiologists in all things bacterial and instil a healthy respect for the promises and dangers of antimicrobial use. I continue to work in Malawi whenever possible and look forward to establishing research there. I am also a fan of public science education and can often be found at music festivals introducing people to the microbes that live on and in them; their 60-trillion-strong microbiome!


I am the module lead for the final-year ‘Human Microbiology and Infection Control’ and the MSc ‘Postgraduate Scholarship Skills’ modules. I also teach on ‘Microbial Communities and Interactions’, ‘Biotechnology’ and ‘Study Skills’. I mainly specialise in microbiology, infection, virulence, vaccines, antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance. My undergraduate and MSc projects focus on bacterial adaptation to antimicrobial stress and public education on antibiotic resistance.

Research Interests

For millions of years, we have been evolving alongside a host of microbes that live on us, in us and which help us to survive. ‘We’ interact with ‘them’ constantly but we are only just starting to figure out what these interactions are and what they might mean.

My research focuses on characterising some of these interactions, looking at how bacteria adapt to life on Planet Human and how we, in turn, respond to these changes. I want to know what happens when these interactions are disturbed through disease and antibiotic use.

If we can dissect these complex relationships, we might hope to eventually develop much smarter ways to combat infection and antibiotic resistance. 

Current projects in my group:

  • Host-microbe interactions in hospital-acquired infections (with Dr Sarah Withers, Dr Ian Goodhead and Prof. Paul Dark at Salford Royal Foundation Trust)
  • Antimicrobials and the human skin microbiome
  • Antimicrobial resistance in East Africa

Qualifications and Memberships


BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, Lancaster University, 2000

MSc Medical and Molecular Microbiology, University of Manchester, 2003

PhD Molecular Biology of Biofilms, University of Sheffield, 2008


The Microbiology Society

American Society of Microbiology

Society for Applied Microbiology

European Society of Dermatological Research


Forbes, S., Latimer, J., Sreenivasan, P. K., & Mcbain, A. (2016). Simultaneous Assessment of Acidogenesis-Mitigation and Specific Bacterial Growth-Inhibition by Dentifrices. PLoS One11(2).

Latimer, J., Munday, J. L., Buzza, K. M., Sreenivasan, P. K., & McBain, A. J. (2015). Antibacterial efficacy of a cetylpyridinium chloride-based mouthrinse against Fusobacterium nucleatum and in vitro plaques. American Journal of Dentistry28 Spec No A.

Latimer, J., Forbes, S., Bazaid, A., & McBain, A. J. (2015). Altered Competitive Fitness, Antimicrobial Susceptibility, and Cellular Morphology in a Triclosan-Induced Small-Colony Variant of Staphylococcus aureus. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy59(8).

Latimer, J., Munday, J. L., Buzza, K. M., Forbes, S., Sreenivasan, P. K., & McBain, A. J. (2015). Antibacterial and anti-biofilm activity of mouthrinses containing cetylpyridinium chloride and sodium fluoride. BMC Microbiology15.

Latimer, J., Munday, J. L., Buzza, K. M., & McBAIN, A. J. (2014). A Comparison of the Antibacterial Efficacy of Two Toothpaste Formulations Containing 0.3% Triclosan. J. Ind. Dent. Ass.2(8), 18-23.

Ledder, R. G., Latimer, J., Humphreys, G. J., Sreenivasan, P. K., & McBain, A. J. (2014).Bacteriological effects of dentifrices with and without active ingredients of natural origin. Applied and Environmental Microbiology80(20).

Rattray, N. J. W., Zalloum, W. A., Mansell, D., Latimer, J., Jaffar, M., Bichenkova, E. V., & Freeman, S. (2013). Chemical and bacterial reduction of azo-probes: monitoring a conformational change using fluorescence spectroscopy. Tetrahedron69(13), 2758-2766.

Rattray, N. J. W., Zalloum, W. A., Mansell, D., Latimer, J., Schwalbe, C. H., Blake, A. J., Freeman, S.(2012). Fluorescent probe for detection of bacteria: Conformational trigger upon bacterial reduction of an azo bridge. Chemical Communications48(51), 6393-6395.

Latimer, J., Forbes, S., & McBain, A. J. (2012). Attenuated virulence and biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus following sublethal exposure to triclosan. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy56(6), 3092-3100.

Latimer, J., Stokes, S. L., Graham, A. I., Bunch, J., Jackson, R. J., McLeod, C. W., & Poole, R. K. (2009).A novel method for exploring elemental composition of microbial communities: laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry of intact bacterial colonies. Journal of Microbiological Methods79(3).