Professor Julian Ketley

Professor of Bacterial Genetics; Deputy Director MIBTP (Leicester); CLS Director of Post-graduate Research

School/Department: Genetics and Genome Biology, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3434



I went to the University of Birmingham to study biological sciences, specialising in microbiology. I stayed in Birmingham to complete my PhD in the Department of Microbiology, which was headed by Professor Harry Smith. Under the supervision of Dr John Stephen, I investigated the production and role of toxins A and B of Clostridium difficile.

After obtaining my PhD in 1986, I headed to the USA for a postdoctoral position with Professor Jim Kaper at the Center for Vaccine Development, University of Maryland at Baltimore. Here, I worked on the construction of the live Vibrio cholerae vaccine strain, CVD103HgR, and Zot toxin.

Having been awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, I returned to the UK, joining the Department of Genetics in 1990. I was awarded a personal Chair at the University of Leicester in 2001.


Research interests focus predominantly on the molecular analysis of Campylobacter jejuni with occasional excursions into other bacterial pathogens. Current areas of work include iron transport systems and their regulation with a focus on a molecular and functional dissection of different uptake systems expressed by campylobacters during intestinal colonisation. This work extends to the investigation of the role of host stress hormones in facilitating intestinal colonisation. In addition I have a long-standing interest in iron-responsive regulatory systems in campylobacters. As a consequence of work on host stress and Campylobacter colonisation I am involved in several projects investigating the avian microbiota with a view to defining the relationship between poultry production microbiota development and susceptibility to Campylobacter colonisation. The microbiota work is one example of my excursions into other areas including antimicrobial treatment in companion animals and the effect of air pollutants on the bee microbiome and human nasopharyngeal colonisation by bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae.



Salem SE, Maddox TW, Antczak P, Ketley JM, Williams NJ, Archer Acute changes in the colonic microbiota are associated with large intestinal forms of surgical colic. BMC Veterinary Research (2020) DC BVET-D-19-00626R2. 

Salem SE, Maddox TW, Berg A, Antczak P, Ketley JM, Williams NJ, Archer DC. Variation in faecal microbiota in a group of horses managed at pasture over a 12-month period. Scientific Reports. 2018. 8(1), 8510.

Elgamoudi BA, Ketley JM, Korolik V. New approach to distinguishing chemoattractants, chemorepellents and catabolised chemoeffectors for Campylobacter jejuni. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 2018. 146, 83-91.

Elgamoudi BA, Ketley JM. Lighting up my life: a LOV-based fluorescent reporter for Campylobacter jejuni. Research in Microbiology 2018. 169(2), 108-114.

Haldar K, Bafadhel M, Lau K, Berg A, Kwambana B, Kebadze T, Ramsheh M, Barker B, Haldar P, Johnston S, Ketley JM, Brightling CE, Barer MR. Microbiome balance in sputum determined by PCR stratifies COPD exacerbations and shows potential for selective use of antibiotics. PLOS ONE 2017 doi: 10.1371/pone.0182833

Lacharme-Lora L, Chaloner G, Gilroy R, Humphrey S, Gibbs K, JopsonS, Wright E, Reid W, Ketley J, Humphrey T, Williams N, Rushton S, Wigley P. B lymphocytes play a limited role in clearance of Campylobacter jejuni from the chicken intestinal tract. Scientific Reports 2017. 7: doi: 10.1038/srep45090. 

Hussey, SJK, Purves, J, Allcock N, Fernandes VE., Monks PS, Ketley JM, Andrew PW, Morrissey JA. Air pollution alters Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms, antibiotic tolerance and colonisation. Environ Microbiol. 2017. doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13686

Bayliss CD, Bidmos FA, Anjum A, Manchev VT, Richards RL, Grossier J-P, Wooldridge K G, Ketley JM, Barrow PA, Jones MA, Tretyakov MV. Phase variable genes of Campylobacter jejuni exhibit high mutation rates and specific mutational patterns but mutability is not the major determinant of population structure during host colonization. Nucl. Acids Res. 2012, 40(13): 5876-5889.

Xu F, Zeng X, Haigh RD, Ketley JM, Lin J: Identification and characterization of a new ferric enterobactin receptor, CfrB, in Campylobacter. J Bacteriol 2010, 192(17):4425-4435.

Hartley-Tassell LE, Shewell LK, Day CJ, Wilson JC, Sandhu R, Ketley JM, Korolik V: Identification and characterization of the aspartate chemosensory receptor of Campylobacter jejuni. Mol Microbiol 2010, 75(3):710-730.



I am not accepting applications for PhD supervision at the moment


BS1040 The Cell
BS1030 The Molecules of Life
BS2009 Genomes
BS2030 Principles of Microbiology
BS3011 Microbial Pathogenesis and genomics
MSc courses in Infection and Immunity /Chronic Disease and Immunity

Press and media

Campylobacter infection and PhD training.


BSc (Hons) (First Class) University of Birmingham 
PhD (Microbiology), University of Birmingham
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
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