• 1.54 Biology

Accepting PhD Students

  • Source: Scopus

Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • Faculty of Science Associate Dean (Employability)
  • Course Director BSc Microbiology


  • Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, UEA (2013-)
  • Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, UEA (2007-2013)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Food Research, UK (2004-2007)



Key Research Interests

The research carried out by my group addresses important questions in both medical and environmental microbiology.

Medical Microbiology:

Salmonella Typhimurium is an intracellular human pathogen which typically causes gastroenteritis in humans but also acts a model organism to investigate the more severe systemic disease, Typhoid fever. Salmonella is able to survive in a wide range of environments inside and outside of the host and is able to rapidly respond to stresses encountered through a sophisticated array of transcriptional regulators.

In our group we are particularly interested in the regulatory pathways which are activated under conditions which cause damage to the Salmonella outer membrane. These envelope stress response (ESR) regulators are critical for antimicrobial resistance. The more we understand how these systems function the likelier we are to develop novel antimicrobials which can perturb these pathways and kill drug resistant Salmonella. Our work also addresses the mechanisms Salmonella uses to detoxify the cytotoxin, nitric oxide, which it encounters in macrophages during infection, but also when undergoing anaerobic respiration with nitrate as the electron acceptor – a process that occurs both in the host and in oxygen limited conditions in the environment (wastewater, soils).

Environmental Microbiology:

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a significant greenhouse gas, with 300-fold greater warming potential than carbon dioxide (CO2). Although there is the potential for N2O to be produced in several microbial processes, denitrification, by which nitrate is reduced to dinitrogen during anaerobic growth, is typically the predominant N2O-producing process in agricultural soils. The last step in bacterial denitrification, the reduction of nitrous oxide (N2O) to inert di-nitrogen gas (N2), is carried out by nitrous oxide reductase, NosZ. NosZ is the major enzyme on the planet responsible for the destruction of N2O; without it the atmospheric levels of this global greenhouse gas would be much greater than they currently are. N2O reduction by NosZ is not always in sync with the rest of denitrification leading to net N2O emission in the environment.

Understanding the regulatory switches that control bacterial denitrification and NosZ is crucial. It may never be possible to eliminate excess N2O production, however, it should be possible, through appropriate management practices, informed from a fuller understanding of the mechanistic activation of NosZ, to enhance N2O reduction and lower net emission.

Using Paracoccus denitrificans as a model bacterial denitrifer, our team have been filling the large gaps in our fundamental understanding of regulation of denitrification including the role of bacterial small RNAs (sRNAs). sRNAs have critical roles in regulation of a multitude of physiological processes in a wide range of bacterial species. Our published study provided the first evidence that manipulation of sRNA expression impacts the rate of denitrification and net N2O emissions. Through our current projects and collaborations we aim to overhaul the mechanistic understanding of the regulation of denitrification and the contribution of sRNAs to this process.




Teaching Interests

As the Course Director for our relatively new BSc Microbiology I organise and teach a significant portion of the first year module:

  • BIO-4019Y Concepts in Microbiology.

I also make contributions to a range of other microbiology modules including:

  • Introduction to Biomedicine
  • Advances in Microbiology
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Techniques and Advances in Molecular Microbiology

In addition we routinely host BSc and MSci research projects in the lab. 

Gary is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). 

Postgraduate Research Opportunities

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding. I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work, collaborations and mentoring for fellowship applications.

Research Group or Lab Membership

Dr Corinne Appia-Ayme (PDRA)

James King (Technician)

Reem Alshahrani (PhD student)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 4 Jul 2005

Master of Research, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 3 Jul 2001

Bachelor of Science, University of Bradford

Award Date: 3 Jul 2000


  • Microbiology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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