Professor Julian Ketley

Professor of Bacterial Genetics

Professor Julian Ketley

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3434

Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3378


Personal details

BSc (Hons) (First Class) University of Birmingham PhD (Microbiology), University of Birmingham CBiol (Chartered Biologist, Society of Biology)

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.


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.

Miller CE, Williams PH, Ketley JM: Pumping iron: mechanisms for iron uptake by Campylobacter. Microbiology 2009, 155(Pt 10):3157-3165.

Marsden GL, Li J, Everest PH, Lawson AJ, Ketley JM: Creation of a large deletion mutant of Campylobacter jejuni reveals that the lipooligosaccharide gene cluster is not required for viability. J Bacteriol 2009, 191(7):2392-2399.

Miller CE, Rock JD, Ridley KA, Williams PH, Ketley JM: Utilization of lactoferrin-bound and transferrin-bound iron by Campylobacter jejuni. J Bacteriol 2008, 190(6):1900-1911.

Cogan TA, Thomas AO, Rees LE, Taylor AH, Jepson MA, Williams PH, Ketley J, Humphrey TJ: Norepinephrine increases the pathogenic potential of Campylobacter jejuni. Gut 2007, 56(8):1060-1065.

Ridley KA, Rock JD, Li Y, Ketley JM: Heme utilization in Campylobacter jejuni. J Bacteriol 2006, 188(22):7862-7875.

Raphael BH, Pereira S, Flom GA, Zhang Q, Ketley JM, Konkel ME: The Campylobacter jejuni response regulator, CbrR, modulates sodium deoxycholate resistance and chicken colonization. J Bacteriol 2005, 187(11):3662-3670.

Karlyshev AV, Ketley JM, Wren BW: The Campylobacter jejuni glycome. FEMS Microbiol Rev 2005, 29(2):377-390.

Holmes K, Mulholland F, Pearson BM, Pin C, McNicholl-Kennedy J, Ketley JM, Wells JM: Campylobacter jejuni gene expression in response to iron limitation and the role of Fur. Microbiology 2005, 151(Pt 1):243-257.

Van Vliet AH, Ketley JM, Park SF, Penn CW. (2002) The role of iron in Campylobacter gene regulation, metabolism and oxidative stress defense. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 26 :173-86.

Matz C, van Vliet AH, Ketley JM, Penn CW. (2002) Mutational and transcriptional analysis of the Campylobacter jejuni flagellar biosynthesis gene flhB. Microbiology. 148 :1679-85.

Oldfield NJ, Moran AP, Millar LA, Prendergast MM, Ketley JM. (2002) Characterization of the Campylobacter jejuni heptosyltransferase II gene, waaF, provides genetic evidence that extracellular polysaccharide is lipid A core independent. J Bacteriol. 184 :2100-7.

Van Vliet AH, Baillon MA, Penn CW, Ketley JM. (2001) The iron-induced ferredoxin FdxA of Campylobacter jejuni is involved in aerotolerance. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 196 :189-93.

Van Vliet AH, Rock JD, Madeleine LN, Ketley JM. (2000) The iron-responsive regulator Fur of Campylobacter jejuni is expressed from two separate promoters. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 188 :115-8.


The molecular pathogenesis of enteric bacteria

My research interests have focused predominantly on the molecular analysis of campylobacter jejuni and campylobacter coli with occasional excursions into other enteric pathogens.


Agar Plate
Agar Plate

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, we have a long-standing interest in iron-responsive regulatory systems in campylobacters. Arising from past work on two-component regulator systems in campylobacters, the group  investigates chemotactic motility, specifically the Campylobacter-specific aspects of the signal transduction pathway.

As a consequence of our work on host stress and Campylobacter colonisation, we are involved in next-generation sequencing and array-based investigation of the avian microbiota with a view to defining the relationship between poultry production, microbiota development and susceptibility to Campylobacter colonisation. Finally, the microbiota work is one example of a recent excursion into other enteric pathogens; this work has expanded to include the analysis of the microbiome of patients suffering from Clostridium difficile-mediated antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

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Contact Details

Department of Genetics
University of Leicester

Adrian Building
University Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3374
E Mail:

Head of Department
Professor Jacqui Shaw

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