Dr. Wattret Gemma Profile

Post-doctoral research associate (University of Liverpool)


I graduated from the University of Liverpool, School of Biological Science in 2006 with a degree in Zoology. Following this, I was employed a research assistant on a Wellcome Trust grant which studied disease dynamics in woodland rodents. I completed my PhD on the quantification of the population structure of pathogenic Bartonella species in 2011. This work was in collaboration with the Health Protection Agency (HPA), UK and found that Bartonella henselae strains vary in their zoonotic potential, with a few uncommon sequence types responsible for the majority of human infections.

Since the completion of my PhD in 2011, I have worked as a post-doctoral research associate within Zoonotic Infections of People, Pigs and Poultry (ZIPPP) research group at the University of Liverpool. This project was funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK food retailers, poultry breeding companies and Danisco.The project examined how production systems, bird welfare and endemic disease affect the susceptibility of chickens to Campylobacter. This project ended in April 2014 and I am now working as a post-doctoral research associate for Prof Eric Fèvre as part of the ESEI project, which examines the Epidemiology, Ecology and Socio-Economics of Disease Emergence in Nairobi.

I am a microbiologist with research interests including the reservoirs and transmission of food-borne pathogens and the molecular typing and whole-genome sequencing of zoonotic bacteria. I am particularly interested in the application of microbiological and genomic approaches to study the population structure of zoonotic bacteria including arthropod-borne bacteria such as Bartonella henselae and food-borne pathogens such as Campylobacter. However I am always keen to broaden this interest to other systems and to learn new techniques.


  • Kemmett, K., Williams, N. J., Chaloner, G., Humphrey, S., Wigley, P., and Humphrey, T. 2014. The contribution of systemic Escherichia coli infection to the early mortalities of commercial broiler chickens. Avian Pathology. 43(1):37-42. Access it online
  • Chaloner, G.L., Harrison, T.G., and Birtles, R.J. 2013. Bartonella species as a cause of infective endocarditis in the UK. Epidemiology and Infection. 141(4):841-6 Access it online
  • Zhao, F., Chaloner, G.L., Darby, A., Song, X.P., Li, D.M., Birtles, R.J., and Liu, Q.Y. 2012 Optimization of Bartonella henselae multilocus sequence typing scheme using single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis of SOLiD sequence data. Chinese Medical Journal. 125(13):2284-8. Access it online
  • Chaloner, G.L., Ventosilla, P., and Birtles, R.J. 2011. Multi-locus sequence analysis reveals profound genetic diversity among isolates of the human pathogen Bartonella bacilliformis. PLoS Neglected Pathogens. 5(7):e1248 Access it online
  • Chaloner, G.L., Harrison, T.G., Coyne, K.P., Aanensen, D.M., and Birtles, R.J. 2011. Multilocus sequence typing of Bartonella henselae in the United Kingdom indicates only a few, uncommon sequence types are associated with human infections. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 49(6):2132-2137. Access it online


g.chalonerNOSPAM@liv.ac.uk (please remove the ‘NOSPAM’ part of the address before sending)

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