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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School


I am a Research Assistant in the Parkhill group working primarily on bacterial genomics and the microbiome of the respiratory tract.

While studying part time at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2007, I started working in the Sequencing Production team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. I did my final research project there on the identification of mixed genotype Plasmodium falciparum infections using the newly developed Illumina sequencing platform, under the supervision of Professor Dominic Kwiatkowski.

In 2008 I took a Research Assistant position with Professor Julian Parkhill on the Pathogen Genomics team, where I went on to focus on novel capsule biosynthesis genes in Streptococcus pneumoniae, and the human microbiota. I joined the Department of Veterinary Medicine in 2019.

I take part in various public engagement activities as a registered STEM Ambassador.


My main research interests are:

  • The respiratory tract microbiome during health and disease
  • The genome of the newly recognised species Ornithobacterium hominis, a Gram negative bacterium in the human nasopharynx
  • The identification, mitigation, and prevention of DNA contamination in low biomass microbiome studies


Key publications: 

'Candidatus Ornithobacterium hominis': insights gained from draft genomes obtained from nasopharyngeal swabs (2019) Salter SJ, Scott P, Page AJ, Tracey A, de Goffau MC, Cormie C, Ochoa-Montaño B, Ling CL, Tangmanakit J, Turner P, Parkhill J. Microb Genom, 5(2). doi: 10.1099/mgen.0.000247

A longitudinal study of the infant nasopharyngeal microbiota: The effects of age, illness and antibiotic use in a cohort of South East Asian children (2017) Salter SJ, Turner C, Watthanaworawit W, de Goffau MC, Wagner J, Parkhill J, Bentley SD, Goldblatt D, Nosten F, Turner P. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11(10):e0005975. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005975

Reagent and laboratory contamination can critically impact sequence-based microbiome analyses (2014) Salter SJ, Cox MJ, Turek EM, Calus ST, Cookson WO, Moffatt MF, Turner P, Parkhill J, Loman NJ, Walker AW. BMC Biol, 12:87. doi: 10.1186/s12915-014-0087-z

Variation at the capsule locus, cps, of mistyped and non-typable Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates (2012) Salter SJ, Hinds J, Gould KA, Lambertsen L, Hanage WP, Antonio M, Turner P, Hermans PWM, Bootsma HJ, O'Brien KL, Bentley SD. Microbiology, 158(6):1560-1569. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.056580-0

 Susannah  Salter
Research Assistant in the Parkhill group

Contact Details

Email address: 
Not available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
Respiratory tract
DNA contamination, “kitome”
16S rRNA