I am interested in the evolution and genetic underpinnings of social behaviour in bacteria. During my DPhil, I aim to understand how and why bacteria produce antimicrobials to outcompete each other in the human body. To do this, I am working with longitudinally sampled Staphylococcus aureus isolates from the human nasal cavity to track population changes over time. I also use comparative approaches to understand where social genes are encoded within bacterial genomes. A further understanding of microbial social behaviour will help prevent disease and the evolution of antibiotic resistance, which are important practical applications of my research.
Before my DPhil, I obtained a First-Class degree in Biological Sciences also at the University of Oxford. My undergraduate research project applied social evolutionary theory to plants, using the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. My primary focus was to understand the importance of plant cooperation and to determine the function of a candidate cooperative gene (GA5).