Personal profile

Research Interests

The application of molecular tools to better understand microbial diversity and interactions in the environment. Recognised for her research into microbial diversity, specifically targeting deconstruction of solid polymer substrates for industrial applications. 

The diversity and function of microbes associated with the GI tract of xylophagous fish and their role in cellulose and lignin digestion has been a major theme.

Antimicrobial resistance in the environment and its transfer and concentration in aquaculture systems.

Microbial diversity on the plastisphere of marine pollution and its possible role in AMR transfer.

The detection and isolation of new anaerobic PCB dechlorinating microbes.



Joy Watts is Associate Dean for Research and Innovation and a Professor of Environmental Microbiology with her research focusing upon the application of molecular tools to understand the microbial diversity and important interactions that can degrade recalcitrant organic compounds, such as lignin. This includes diversity and function of microbes associated with the GI tracts of wood eating organisms, detection of antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture and marine systems. She has active expert panel roles for the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme, is an editorial board member for journals, including Nature Scientific Reports, is Editor-in-Chief for Environmental Microbiome, and is an advisor for the Marine Microbiome Policy Report. With a funding track record from the European Commission, NERC and Innovate UK.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., Analysis of Microbial Diversity in Polluted and Non-Polluted Soils., University of Warwick

Sept 1995Nov 1998

Award Date: 26 Nov 1998


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