Professor Barer graduated in medicine and immunology from University College London then undertook postgraduate training at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine before taking up a faculty position at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He took up the Chair of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Leicester in 2000 and continues clinical practice in this specialty.
His research has been at the interface between bacterial physiology and human infection with a current focus on the microbiology of the lower respiratory tract focusing on Tuberculosis, COVID19 and Microbiome studies. His work is currently funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the National Core Study on COVID19 Transmission (PROTECT).
Professor Barer has been working on the mechanisms of airborne transmission of tuberculosis for the last ten years. His team is currently developing and deploying facemask sampling to study exhaled bacterial and viral pathogens. In the past he has worked extensively on the understanding and assessment of bacterial viability with application to medical and public health practice. His group first demonstrated the transcriptional patterns of M. tuberculosis in human sputum and the abundant presence of differentially culturable (non-colony-forming) bacilli in these samples. These “Fat and Lazy persister-like bacilli” first alerted us to the specific properties of tubercle bacilli in expectorated material and early evidence indicates that their abundance is correlated with responses to treatment.