Dr Frances Colles

Subject: Biology

Department: Biology

College appointment: Stipendiary Lecturer

Academic position: Lecturer I in Biological Sciences


Dr Fran Colles studied Zoology and Microbiology at Aberystwyth University, completed an MSc in Medical Microbiology at the University of Westminster, before moving to the University of Oxford where she obtained a DPhil in molecular epidemiology. She began her career in diagnostic and clinical microbiology laboratories and is a professionally qualified Biomedical Scientist. She now works in research with a public health focus.


Dr Colles is a Departmental lecturer and teaches on microbiology and infectious disease options within the undergraduate Biology course. She has extensive experience teaching practical classes across different Departments and Summer Schools within the University of Oxford, as well as supervising undergraduate projects.

Research interests

My research focuses on Campylobacter, a food poisoning bacterium which on average infects one person every 2 minutes in the UK, resulting in an economic burden of around £1billion a year. Although we know contaminated chicken meat is a major source of the illness, it is still not clear how chickens become infected in the first place, or how we can limit disease in humans. I use molecular techniques to trace the epidemiology of infection on farms, but my research is often multidisciplinary, meaning I work closely with experts in animal behaviour and mathematical modelling.

Selected publications