Dr. Joe Latimer
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
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!
Areas of research
Antimicrobial Resistance, Host-Microbe Interactions, Microbiology, Microbiome, Hospital Infection
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.
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
- 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