Professor Chloë James

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Photo of Professor Chloë James

Contact Details

Peel Building Room G21

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Current positions

Chair in Microbiology; Lecturer and Principal Investigator, Outreach Lead, Chair of GMO Committee

Biography

I first became interested in microbiology as a young teenager, fascinated by the working life of our next-door neighbour who worked at The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine investigating disease transmission. I graduated from The University of Edinburgh (1998) with a BSc hon in Medical Microbiology and a thirst to know more about bacterial disease. I conducted my PhD studies at The University of Liverpool, publishing research on how bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) infect and transfer genes between different strains of Escherichia coli and other enteric bacteria (1998-2003). I worked as a postdoctoral researcher for 10 years publishing work on different aspects of bacterial infection: Communication and gene regulation systems of oral bacteria and their role in the development of periodontitis - The University of Florida, USA (2003-2006). How mutations in porin channels control the transport of antibiotics across the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria - Aix-Marseille Université, France (2006-2008). How bacteriophages affect Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections of the cystic fibrosis lung - The University of Liverpool (2009-2012).

I was appointed as lecturer in medical microbiology at the University of Salford in 2012 and awarded chair in microbiology 2022. My primary research centers around temperate bacteriophages and how their carriage alters the biology of their bacterial hosts, with a particular focus on lung infections. I also lead projects investigating host-pathogen interactions and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). I have published 30+ peer-reviewed papers (H-index 26). I welcome applications from prospective researchers with a background in molecular microbiology, and a keen interest in bacterial pathogens; bacteriophage biology; polymicrobial biofilms; infection models; bacterial evolution; antimicrobial resistance; global health.

I sit on the Microbiology Society Council as Chair of the Impact and Influence committee, which enables me to support microbiologists across the world and influence policy at national and international levels. I am passionate about the open sharing of scientific research through public engagement and outreach. I work across disciplines and with creative practitioners to develop immersive and engaging installations to improve public interest in microbiology. Our work has been highlighted at Manchester, Cheltenham, WISE, BlueDot and Pint-of-Science Festivals, as well as The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Research grants awarded:

  • PI - BBSRC Standard Grant 2021-24 “Prophage host interactions” BB/T016256/1 (linked to UoS partnership with Liverpool BB/T015616/1
  • CO-I HEIF 2021-23 Dr H Yates PI “Antimicrobial Surface Coatings for Controlling Infection Transmission”
  • PI – RSIF, 2015: Launch of Next Generation Sequencing Facilities at University of Salford (PI)

Areas of research

Bacteriophages, Bacterial Infection, Molecular Microbiology, Biofilms, Antibiotic Resistance, Cystic Fibrosis, Host-Microbe Interactions, Microbial Evolution

Areas of supervision

Effect of prophage carriage on bacterial biology, Interactions between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Lung Epithelia, Interactions between Uropathogenic Escherichia coli and Bladder Epithelial Cells, Effect of Antimicrobial Surfaces on Microbial Evolution, Using Local Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance and Genome Sequence Data to Enhance Antibiotic Stewardship in Western Uganda, Developing Immersive Experiences to Enhance Understanding of Microbiology, Phenotypic and Genotypic Profiling of Bacterial Pathogens from Different Clinical and Community Sources

Teaching

I teach Microbiology across all undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Salford. I co-developed the MSc programme in Biomedical Science and lead modules: “Microbial Communities and Infections” and “Infectious Disease Control”. I also teach on modules “Molecules to Microbes”, “Biomedical Skills”, “Professional Skills”, “Translational Research Skills”, Medical and Public Health Microbiology”, “Microbiomes”, “Antimicrobial Resistance”, “Professional Scholarship Skills”, “Research Projects for MSc and Undergraduate Programmes”

Pedagogical Outputs:

  • Developed interactive virtual reality experiences to engage students better in learning about bacterial biofilms and antibiotic resistance (2015) and bacteriophages (2022)
  • Article: Extended Reality – New Frontiers in Microbiology Teaching. In Microbiology Today, May 2022
  • Conference Presentation: Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education Session: Digital Technologies in Higher Education “Virtual Reality Games to Engage Young People in Antibiotic Stewardship and Inspire the Next-Generation to Tackle AMR” Microbiology Society Conference 2021, online

Member of The Microbiology Society Educators Network – sharing ideas on innovative pedagogies in microbiology. E.g. teaching practical skills remotely, evolving technologies, de-colonising the curriculum.

Research Interests

My research explores the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria interact with their surroundings. I am particularly interested in how certain viruses (bacteriophages) influence the biology of bacteria and in the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. My work has contributed to a better understanding of antibiotic resistance mechanisms and bacteriophages that integrate into bacterial hosts as prophages.

Ref Impact Case Study Lead: “Improving healthcare systems to tackle antimicrobial resistant infections in Uganda” in collaboration with School of Health and Society.

Active in science communication and public engagement, I also run microbiology-based activities at science festivals to increase public awareness and understanding of the heathy microbiome, bacteriophages and antibiotic resistance (AMR). I am interested in how immersive technologies and art can be used to enhance learning about microbiology and have developed a network of multidisciplinary collaborations to find new and exciting ways to do this.

Qualifications and Memberships

  • BSc hon, PhD, FHEA
  • Membership: The Microbiology Society, Society for Applied Microbiology
  • External Roles: Chair of The Impact and Influence Committee – MicroSoc
  • Peer-Reviewer: BBSRC, ERC, MRC, NIHR.