Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.


Bacteria growing on agar in a petri dish

Our multidisciplinary research group focuses on molecular microbiology, microbial ecology, genetics, evolutionary microbiology and the ways that these disciplines contribute to ‘One Health’ and the global issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The Microbiology research area is part of the wider Biomedical Research Group.

We offer a Biomedical Science PhD, and a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.

For more information, contact Dr Caray Walker at [email protected]

Academic staff

Dr Caray Walker - Head of the Microbiology Research Group

Dr Caray Walker's research interests are in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and pathogenesis of important bacterial pathogens, in particular, zoonoses. As part of this work Caray and her group are collaborating with The British Antarctic Survey to investigate the prevalence of AMR in Antarctica. She is also interested in the development of novel vaccines and diagnostic test candidates through exploitation of environmental factors which affect gene expression, such as iron.

Dr Helen McRobie

Dr Helen McRobie focuses her research interests around the pharmacological characterisation and pleiotropy of the MC1R gene. Her work on the genetic basis of melanism in grey, fox, red and palm squirrels was the basis of the Black Squirrel Project. Helen also has research interests in the sheltering effect in AMR of Klebsiella.

Dr Chris O'Kane

Dr Chris O'Kane conducts research into the development of novel therapeutics for AMR, and the application of nanotechnology in the development of theranostic devices.

Dr Clett Erridge

Dr Clett Erridge has a primary research interest in mechanisms connecting inflammation to lipid metabolism, particularly in the context of coronary artery disease and other inflammatory conditions associated with the liver. His interest also encompasses the impact that the gut microbiota can have on the immune system and in drug discovery technologies.

Dr Richard Jones

Dr Richard Jones's research interests include multidisciplinary studies of extracellular matrix and membrane proteins implicated in AMR and human eye, skin and vascular diseases. He has experience in molecular biology, protein expression and purification, and the analysis of proteins using biochemistry, biophysics and bioinformatic techniques. Most recently, Richard has collaborated with Dr Jim Sullivan in supervising a project on variants of oxa-beta-lactamases from Acinetobacter baumannii.

Dr Jim Sullivan

Dr Jim Sullivan pursues research interests in post translational modification of proteins in eukaryotic microbes along with investigating the mechanisms of antimicrobial and biocide resistance in bacteria. Areas of expertise include molecular cloning and the production and analysis of recombinant proteins.

Dr Bas Boots

Dr Bas Boots' academic interests are related to linking microbes, animals, plants and ecosystem functioning: from genes to ecosystems. Microbial communities associated with animals, including insects, bivalves and cattle. Development of technologies to detect pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in the environment. Impacts of anthropogenic pressures (e.g. pollutants) on ecological processes in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Biogeochemistry, biodiversity and ecology of soil, water and sediment.

Read more about academic staff.

Post-doctoral research students

Dr Harisree Paramel Nair

Dr Harisree Paramel Nair has has research interests in microbial metagenomics, environmental microbes and zoonotic pathogens. Her current research focuses on the prevalence of enteric pathogens in wild birds and investigating the AMR mechanisms and virulence factors which contributes in making them highly pathogenic strains of health concern.

PhD researchers

Kruti Gupta

Thesis title: Investigation into prevalence of multi-drug resistant zoonotic pathogens from wild bird faeces collected from sites in East Anglia
Areas of interest: Antibiotic resistant pathogens, gut-microbiome, astrobiology.
1st supervisor: Dr Caray Walker
Contact: [email protected]

Chisom Meludu

Thesis title: Role of G-Quadruplexes in AdeABC Efflux Pump Antibiotics Resistance activity
1st supervisor: Dr Chris O'Kane
Contact: [email protected]

Himel Mahbubul

1st supervisor: Dr Jim Sullivan


  • Prof Melody Clark and Prof Lloyd Peck, British Antarctic Survey, UK
  • Prof Sarita G Bhat, Cochin University of Science and Technology, India
  • Dr Alison Mather, Quadram Institute Bioscience, UK
  • Dr Andrew Grant, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Dr Ben Evans, University of East Anglia, UK

Nair, H. P., Bhat, S. G., 2020. Metagenomic data on bacterial diversity profiling of Arabian sea sediment by amplicon sequencing. Data in Brief, 28, p. 104791.

Ipoutcha, T., Tsarmpopoulos, I., Talenton, V., Gaspin, C., Moisan, A., Walker, C. A., Brownlie J., Blanchard A., Thebault P., Sirand-Pugnet P., 2019. Multiple Origins and Specific Evolution of CRISPR/Cas9 Systems in Minimal Bacteria (Mollicutes). Frontiers in Microbiology, 10: 2701.

Mitchell, J. A., Cardwell, J. M., Leach, H., Walker, C. A., Le Poder, S., Decaro, N., Rusvai, M., Egberink, H., Rottier, P., Fernandez, M., Fragkiadaki, E., Shields, S. and Brownlie, J., 2017. European surveillance of emerging pathogens associated with canine infectious respiratory disease. Vet Microbiology, 212, pp. 31-38.

Sheng, Y., Beguin, E., Nesbitt, H., Kamila, S., Owen, J., Barnsley, L. C., Callan, B., O'Kane, C., Nomikou, N., Hamoudi, R., Taylor, M. A., Love, M., Kelly, P., O'Rourke, D., Stride, E., McHale, A. P., Callan, J. F., 2017. Magnetically responsive microbubbles as delivery vehicles for targeted sonodynamic and antimetabolite therapy of pancreatic cancer. Journal of Controlled Release, 262, pp. 192-200.

Herbert, K. E. and Erridge, C., 2018. Regulation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by intestinal inflammation and the acute phase response. Cardiovascular Research, 2(114), pp. 226-232.

Akkaya, B. G., Zolnerciks, J. K., Ritchi, T. K., Bauer, B., Hartz, A. M. S., Sullivan, J. A., Linton, K. J., 2015. The multidrug resistance pump ABCB1 is a substrate for the ubiquitin ligase NEDD4-1. Mol Mem Biol, 32, pp. 39-45.

Stemberk, V., Jones, R. P. O., Moroz, O., Atkin, K. E., Edwards, A. M., Turkenburg, J. P., Leech, A. P., Massey, R. C., Potts, J. R., 2014. Evidence for steric regulation of fibrinogen binding to Staphylococcus aureus fibronectin-binding protein A (FnBPA). Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289, pp. 12842-12851.

Read more about more publications.