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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr James Butler

Dr James Butler

Lecturer in Medical Sciences



 College House G.00


College House, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Dr James Butler is a Lecturer in Medical Sciences in the Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Exeter Medical School, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. He mainly has teaching responsibilities on the BSc Medical Sciences and BMBS Medicine programmes. His area of expertise is microbiology and immunology, although his first degree was in the wider biomedical sciences.

James holds the following leadership and management roles:

  • Chair, BMBS Medical Sciences Integrated Learning Group (MS-ILG).
  • Lectures Academic Lead for BMBS Medicine.
  • Academic Co-lead for Widening Participation (Medicine), University of Exeter Medical School.
  • Deputy Module Lead and Lead for Scientific Communication, CSC1004 Fundamental Skills for Medical Scientists.

For other online profiles please see below:




James completed BSc and MSc degrees in Biomedical Science, specialising in microbiology and immunology with research projects investigating tetracycline resistance and probiotic bacterial DNA as an immunomodulator. He then pursued a PhD at the University of Plymouth using silver nanoparticles to develop an antimicrobial nanocoating for use in hospital wastewater plumbing systems. During his PhD, he assisted with and led some undergraduate and postgraduate teaching across disciplines. Following his PhD, James worked on bacterial vaccine development as a Post-doctoral Research Associate in Microbiology with international academic (Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China) and industrial (The Vaccine Group, UK) collaborators, funded by Innovate UK.

James moved to the University of Exeter in October 2022, as an Associate Lecturer in Medical Sciences. In November 2023, James was promoted to Lecturer in Medical Sciences.

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Research interests

James has research interests in antimicrobial resistance (AMR); particularly where it relates to topics such as infection prevention and control (IPC), the role of hospital wastewater in nosocomial infections, the emergence of novel Gram-negative bacterial pathogens, and the development of bacterial vaccines.

Research projects

  • Genomic and phenotypic analysis of emerging Gram-negative bacterial pathogens identified in patients with cystic fibrosis.
  • Development of attenuated bovine herpesvirus-4 for the production of safe, inexpensive vaccines to control porcine Streptococcus suis infection and bovine mastitis caused by Escherichia coli.
  • Treatment of intramacrophage Mycobacterium abscessus infection with combination therapy.
  • Development of an antibacterial silver nanocoating for application to hospital wastewater plumbing systems to reduce nosocomial infections.

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Journal articles

Butler J, Handy RD, Upton M, Besinis A (2023). Review of Antimicrobial Nanocoatings in Medicine and Dentistry: Mechanisms of Action, Biocompatibility Performance, Safety, and Benefits Compared to Antibiotics. ACS Nano
Butler J, Upton M (2023). What's really down the hospital plughole?. Journal of Hospital Infection, 138, 92-93.
Butler J, Kelly SD, Muddiman KJ, Besinis A, Upton M (2022). Hospital sink traps as a potential source of the emerging multidrug-resistant pathogen Cupriavidus pauculus: characterization and draft genome sequence of strain MF1. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 71(2). Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact


  • July 2023 - Above & Beyond Bronze Award for Community.
  • October 2023 - Above & Beyond Bronze Award for Community.
  • October 2023 - Above & Beyond 'Thank you'.
  • December 2023 - Above & Beyond 'Thank you'.

Editorial responsibilities

James has been a manuscript peer reviewer for the following journals:

  • Journal of Medical Microbiology.
  • Letters in Applied Microbiology.
  • Access Microbiology.
  • International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
  • American Journal of Infection Control.
  • Infection Prevention in Practice.
  • Journal of Hospital Infection.


Professional memberships:

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA; 2023–present).
  • Registered Scientist (RSci) status awarded by the Royal Society of Biology and Science Council (2023–present).
  • Member of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB; 2019–present).
  • Member of the Microbiology Society (2016–present).
  • Member of Applied Microbiology International (formerly Society for Applied Microbiology; 2018–present).
  • Member of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (2019–present).

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James primarily teaches on the BSc Medical Sciences, BSc Neuroscience, BSc Sport and Exercise Medical Sciences, and BMBS Medicine programmes. He currently has responsibilities on the following modules:

  • CSC1004 Fundamental Skills for Medical Scientists (Deputy Module Lead and Lead for Scientific Communication)
  • CSC1005 Integrated Human Physiology
  • CSC2009 Anatomical Sciences
  • CSC2012 Disease, Diagnostics and Therapeutics
  • CSC2023 Experimental Design and Statistics
  • CSC3019 Translational Medical Science
  • CSC3028/3029 Medical Sciences Research Project
  • NEU1008 Medical Cell Biology
  • Problem Based Learning (PBL) Year 1 (BMBS)
  • Life Science Resource Centre (LSRC) Year 1 (BMBS)
  • Special Study Units (SSUs) 1, 2 and 3 (BMBS)
  • Research SSU (BMBS)
  • Medical Knowledge (BMBS)



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