Microbiology at York spans fundamental and applied research.

Our strengths in environmental microbiology and microbial evolution are complemented with expertise in microbial DNA metabolism and synthetic biology. We apply our collective expertise to industrial biotechnology and bioenergy projects.

We study fundamental and applied disease-related mechanistic microbiology. Our research in this area has led to novel therapeutic drug leads.


Our microbiology research delivers positive benefits for industry, the environment and public health.

We focus on research that addresses three global challenges:

Research highlights


Name Expertise

Daniela Barillà

  • Mechanisms of genome segregation in Bacteria and Archaea
  • Maintenance of multidrug resistance plasmids
  • DNA-protein interactions

Neil Bruce

  • Microbial degradation of xenobiotic compounds
  • Microbial degradation of lignocellulose
  • 'omics analysis of microbial communities

James Chong

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Applied systems biology 
  • Methanogenic archaea

Julia Ferrari

  • Insect-microbe-symbiosis
  • Evolutionary ecology of plant-insect-microbe-natural enemy interactions 
  • Ecological genetics of species interactions

Paul Fogg

  • Viruses of microbes
  • Horizontal gene transfer 
  • Antibiotic resistance
Ville Friman
  • Host-parasite coevolution in microbial communities
  • Plant-microbiome feedbacks
  • Pathogen biocontrol and phage therapy in agricultural and clinical contexts
Michelle Hawkins
  • DNA replication
  • Bacterial replication termination
  • Replication-transcription conflicts
Angela Hodge
  • Plant-soil-microbial interactions
  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • Nutrient cycling
Daniel Jeffares
  • Genome and molecular evolution
  • Microbial population genomics and quantitative genetics
  • UK-Brazil Joint Centre Partnership in leishmaniasis
Jeremy Mottram
  • Molecular and cellular parasitology
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Genetic and chemical validation of drug targets
James Moir
  • Microbiological diagnostics and new drugs
  • Biological pesticide degradation 
  • Nitrogen cycling in natural environments and the human body 
Jennifer Potts
  • Structural biology
  • Host-pathogen interactions 
  • Surface proteins of Gram-positive bacteria
Gavin Thomas
  • Bacterial transporters
  • Sialic acid in bacteria 
  • Bacterial symbionts of insects 
Jamie Wood
  • Mathematical and computational methods
  • Systems biology
  • Microbial ecology and metabolism
J Peter W Young
  • Population genomics of bacteria 
  • Genome-based bacterial taxonomy 
  • Diversity of rhizobia