In 2016, Kirsty completed her PhD thesis at Cardiff University within the School of Dentistry.
Her research examined biofilm communities associated with mechanical ventilation in intensive care patients, and she completed this whilst also practising as an NHS Biomedical Scientist in the diagnostics department. Kirsty joined Professor Walsh’s team in the BARNARDS project at Cardiff in June 2016. Kirsty’s role in BARNARDS was primarily focused on setting up the genomics laboratory within Professor Walsh’s group. This has enabled the performance of whole-genome sequencing of sepsis-causing bacteria using both short and long read sequencing platforms, which was fundamental to the project. Kirsty’s principal interest is microbial bioinformatics and analysing large genomic datasets.
She now leads the groups’ genomics laboratory and bioinformatics platforms which involves oversight of other genomics-focussed projects within Professor Walsh’s other funded programmes. Kirsty is funded by DETER-XDR-CHINA, a study examining the spread and burden of AMR in public health sectors and hospitals in 30 provinces in China.
Kirsty was seconded by Public Health Wales in May 2018 for a period of two years to provide input to their project focusing on the use of whole genome sequencing in hospital outbreak investigations, and continues to collaborate with the team.
Kirsty also collaborates with Dr Brad Spiller researching clinical infections caused by Ureaplasma and Mycoplasma performing long read sequencing and bioinformatics analysis.