Dr Joe Latimer

School of Science, Engineering & Environment

Photo of Dr Joe Latimer

Contact Details

Peel Building
School of Science, Engineering & Environment
University of Salford
M5 4WT

Current positions



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

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.

Areas of Supervision

"Host-microbe Interactions and Wound Healing in Type Two Diabetes"

"Antimicrobial Resistance in Priority Pathogens in Pakistan & Palestine"

"Contamination of water sources at fire stations – a source of potential infection?"

I am also happy to discuss any other topics around the areas of antimicrobials, resistance, and host-microbe interactions


My teaching focuses on human microbiology, antimicrobials and antimicrobial resistance. I lead the final year module "Antimicrobial resistance: Threats & solutions"

I also teach skills in communication, professionalism, employability and independent learning, from foundation year to MSc level. I am the lead for MSc research projects.

My undergraduate and postgraduate projects explore antibiotic resistance and host-microbe interactions

Qualifications and Recognitions

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice

    2016 - 2018
  • PhD in Molecular Microbiology

    2004 - 2008
  • MSc Medical & Molecular Microbiology

    2002 - 2003
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Science

    1997 - 2000