Dr Carrie Brady

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About me

Since the beginning of my post-graduate research career, I have been intrigued by the taxonomy and phylogeny of bacteria and how molecular microbiology techniques can be used to resolve taxonomic issues.  I believe that taxonomy and phylogeny have a great influence on many other areas of biology including plant pathology, metagenomics, epidemiology and clinical or medical microbiology.

My post-graduate research has been focussed on developing novel methods for evaluating the taxonomy and phylogeny of plant-pathogenic and -associated members of the former family Enterobacteriaceae. This has led to the description of numerous novel genera and species isolated from Eucalyptus, oak, agricultural crops and plants, as well as several taxonomic reclassifications of important clinical species.

My current research is in collaboration with Forest Research, working on a multimillion pound BBSRC-funded grant to limit the spread of pathogenic bacteria that are damaging and causing the death of many native British oak trees (https://bacterialplantdiseases.uk/bac-stop/). Native oak species are currently under threat from Acute Oak Decline (AOD), a serious disease affecting mature trees that has spread throughout Great Britain in the last decade. The research into AOD at UWE centres around the classification, identification and detection of bacteria associated with the decline. Since joining UWE in 2011, we have described two novel genera and 11 novel species of bacteria isolated from oak displaying symptoms of AOD. We also develop molecular screening methods to detect the most commonly isolated bacteria from diseased tissue, examine possible synergistic relationships between the bacteria and try to determine routes of infection from possible reservoirs such as rhizosphere soil.

Our research has recently expanded into screening bleeding cankers of other broadleaf hosts such as lime, beech, elm and birch to determine if the AOD bacteria are present on hosts other than oak. Preliminary results from field trips in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire indicate a novel Brenneria species may be involved in necrosis of lime with symptoms of bleeding cankers along with the AOD-associated bacteria. This opens several exciting avenues of future research with the possibility of another polymicrobial disease on a broadleaf host, similar to the complex responsible for AOD.


Area of expertise

Bacterial taxonomy, molecular microbiology, plant-pathogenic bacteria


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