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Paul Barrow

Professor of Veterinary Infectious Diseases - Sub Dean of Research & Business, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences


  • workRoom A56 Veterinary Academic Building
    Sutton Bonington Campus
    Sutton Bonington
    LE12 5RD
  • work0115 951 6428
  • fax0115 951 6440


Paul Barrow obtained a BSc (Hons) in Medical Microbiology from the University of Bristol. He carried out post-graduate research at the National Institute for Research in Dairying, obtaining a PhD from the University of Reading in 1978. He then spent two years as a post-doctoral research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A year carrying out research at Unilever Research preceded his joining the avian Salmonella group at Houghton Poultry Research Station, Cambridgeshire in 1981. He headed the Zoonoses group at the Institute for Animal Health, Compton Laboratory in 1991. He was First Houghton Lecturer in 1993. He joined the newly formed School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2006. He obtained his DSc from the University of Bristol in 1997. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists and of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Expertise Summary

Paul Barrow is a Research Professor and Sub-Dean for Research and Business. He represents the school on the Faculty Research Strategy Group and the Bio-Support Unit Operations Board.

He is an infection bacteriologist specialising in poultry and pig diseases with an interest in molecular bacteriology and immunity. He is recognised internationally for his expertise in Salmonella in poultry and has considerable experience in Campylobacter and Mycobacterium. He is also an expert in the use of bacteriophages.

Teaching Summary

I teach in year 4 of the Veterinary Course in the Veterinary Public Health module. This includes lecturing on notifiable diseases and practical classes in public health bacteriology.

I currently have 6 PhD students.

With R. Atterbury and K-C. Chang and M. Clark (Minster Vets) together with S. Baigent and V. Nair (Pirbright Institute) I am developing the renowned Poultry Disease Course into an online format for the global poultry community ( This is part of the BBSRC-funded Advanced Training Partnership (ATP) programme.

Research Summary

I lead a very active research group which studies and exploits host-pathogen interactions in Salmonella enterica infections in poultry and pigs. We use genomic and post-genomic approaches and… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

I lead a very active research group which studies and exploits host-pathogen interactions in Salmonella enterica infections in poultry and pigs. We use genomic and post-genomic approaches and immunological approaches including host and pathogen microarray analysis. We apply these findings to investigate and control infection and disease in food animals and also use these infections as models of human disease.

We collaborate extensively with other organisations and universities, particularly the Sanger Institute and Universities of Birmingham, Bristol and Swansea and the Pirbright and Roslin Institutes (immunity) and pharmaceutical companies particularly Zoetis, Lohmann Animal Health (now Elanco), AmpliphiBio and Evolution.

We have an extensive network of European collaborators, funded under FP5, 6 and 7 and collaborators in Brazil (UNESP), China (CAU) and the US. The information we generate has been used by the UK government and EU Commission to determine policy related to food borne zoonoses.

Virulence determinants of Salmonella

We commissioned full genome sequencing of S. Enteritidis, S. Gallinarum, S. Infantis, and S. Hadar in addition to other serovars ( This information has led to the identification of serotype characteristics in terms of SPI expression which may be related to infection phenotype.

We are particularly interested in how organisms such as Salmonella and Campylobacter colonise the alimentary tract of food animals since this is an essential step in carcass contamination. We produced whole genome ORF microarrays of S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis for this purpose have used these to determine the effect of the in vivo environment on patterns of genome expression. We have also done similar studies with C. jejuni. We also have an interest in how micro-organisms and pathogens obtain their energy under the physiological and redox conditions prevalent in vivo.

Adaptive immunity to Salmonella in chickens (SP, Prohealth){Myco)

Following on from earlier work done in collaboration with the UNivrsity of Cambridge, we have a particular interest in the manner in which certain Salmonella serovars, such as S. Pullorum, in chickens modulate the immune response to create a carrier state. During this, small numbers of bacteria persist in the spleen over many weeks without immune clearance. At onset of sexual maturity circulating sex hormones reduce the capacity of T lymphocytes to respond specifically and non-specifically to various antigens, including the pathogen itself. This is a good model for S. Typhi in man and S. Dublin in cattle.

We have found that the bacteria infect macrophages during the phase of persistence. Preliminary work indicated that in comparison with S. Enteritidis, lower levels of Interferon-γ and higher levels of IL-18 were produced in the spleen. We have since been investigating the response by these two serovars (and also S. Gallinarum) during in vitro infection of avian macrophages co-cultured with avian T lymphocytes. This confirmed that neither immuno-suppression nor clonal anergy are responsible for the carrier state but that S. Pullorum induces a Th2-type response whereas S. Enteritidis induces a Th-17 type response associated with strong cellular clearance. This is being done with an China Scholarship Council-University of Nottingham international studentship. (with N. Foster and M. Jones)

This work is continuing.

Innate responses to infection in pigs and chickens

Although germ free pigs are highly susceptible to oral S. Typhimurium infection, with an acute enteritis, oral pre-infection just 24 hours previously with a non-virulent S. Infantis allows the S. Typhimurium to colonise but there is no clinical disease. This is the result of neutrophil activation and diapedesis in the intestine. We have more recently shown that this protective effect also occurs in weaned pigs and that a difference in 10% in growth rate occurs between protected and non-protected pigs. (with N. Foster)

As part of a FP7 consortium (Prohealth) we are investigating the innate immune and physiological changes that take place in pigs and chickens during production disease (enteric, respiratory and lameness). This is being done with host gene microarrays. (with N. Foster, R. Emes) The presence of enteric pathogens in the intestine is being detected by a pan-enteric pathogen array developed as part of an international PhD studentship. (with A. Abu-Median)

The early immune responses to Clostridium difficile in the neonatal pig are being studied using piglets derived by hysterotomy and reared in an isolator.

The early innate response to Mycobacterium avium in chicken macrophages is being studied.

Novel approaches to infection control

This is being explored in several ways.

Interest in the exclusion effect produced by oral administration of live, attenuated Salmonella vaccines to newly-hatched chickens continues with evaluation with and without gut flora preparations. (Eranet EMIDA grant, with U. Methner and A. Berndt, FLI, Germany)

We have shown that oral administration of live vaccines to newly-hatched chickens or germ free pigs has additional benefits other than the induction of an adaptive immune response. As indicated above it has enormous practical potential. It is fairly specific for closely related intracellular bacterial pathogens and has little protective effect against enterotoxigenic E. coli in pigs or Eimeria in chickens. The Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine is unable to protect against Salmonella.

We have been one of the key laboratories involved in exploring the use of bacteriophages for infection control. Acquiring the interest from working with H. Williams Smith who re-established interest in the west in the 1980s, we have shown them to be effective against E. coli infections of chickens and colostrum deprived calves and have shown it to be particularly effective for carcass decontamination from food-borne zoonotic bacterial pathogens (with I. Connerton, C. Dodd, School of Biosciences and University of Bristol an R. Atterbury).

The value of using phages against avian E. coli is being explored as part of an Eranet ANIHWA consortium grant.

With R. Atterbury we have been exploring the value of phages against epidemic cholera in humans. We have collected and characterised phages from culture collections and as field isolated from China and also India. These are being tested for their effects against Vibrio cholera in vivo and we have shown substantial protective effects. This work has led to a UKIERI collaborative grant with Dr. B. L. Sarkar, National Institute for Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata. (with J. Ritchie, University of Surrey and an international PhD studentship).

Microarrays are also being used to explore the effect of co-infection of cattle with different mycobacteria, especially M. bovis and M. paratuberculosis in the UK and M. bovis and M. tuberculosis in China. (with A. Abu-Median and X. Zhou, China Agricultural University, Beijing)


The University of Nottingham
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Sutton Bonington Campus, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6563