Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences
Research Groups: Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology
PhD student in Molecular Microbiology
I undertook a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology at Cardiff University School of Biosciences in 2011. My studies were focused on human and animal pathogens as well as environmental microorganisms. As part of my degree I undertook a professional training year in the laboratory of Prof. Les Baillie at Cardiff University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Here, my work focused on the bacterium Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax), covering a wide range of projects from anthrax toxin (Lethal Factor (LF) and Protective Antigen (PA)) purification, PA and LF domain expression and discovering new bacteriophages capable of infecting B. anthracis.
I then returned back to Cardiff School of Biosciences to complete my BSc degree. Here I specialised in modules such as bioinformatics, human infectious diseases and bacterial genomics as well as undertaking a practical dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Eshwar Mahenthiralingam focused on producing a G. mellonella infection model. I then graduated from Cardiff University in 2015 with a First, from which I then obtained a PhD position here at Royal Veterinary College (Camden) under the supervision of Dr. Sharon Kendall and Dr. Liam Good. More information on my current work can be found under the 'Research' section.
Currently, my research is focused on transcriptional regulators in the Mycobacterium genus, a highly diverse group of bacteria including the pathogens Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the major cause of the human disease: Tuberculosis), Mycobacterium bovis (predominant causative bacterium of Tuberculosis in cattle) and Mycobacterium leprae (the cause of leprosy).
More specifically, my work focusses around the elusive TetR family of transcriptional regulators (TFTRs) in M. tuberculosis and M. bovis, involved in regulating various genes encoding proteins such as cytochromes, membrane proteins and efflux pumps. Here, my work entails using bioinformatic approaches to predict binding motifs of various TFTRs, and then applying a range of molecular biology tools to determine the functions of these TFTRs and what genes they are involved in regulating. Additionally, my work also covers understanding the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms in M. tuberculosis isolates (+5,000) and related species, using a combined biological and bioinformatic approach.
My previous and current ongoing research projects include:
- Isolation and characterisation of new bacteriophages that infect Bacillus anthracis (as part of a joint EU and NATO project with collaborators including Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage Research and Militiary Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Poland - AEDNet, 2013 - Present)
- Feasibility study into the use of bacteriophages against B. anthracis spore contaminated land (Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) funding, 2014 - 2015)
- Production of anthrax Lethal Factor domains in a recombinant E. coli host (NATO, 2013)
- Development of a Protective Antigen capture system based on the N-terminal domain of Lethal Factor (EU, 2013 - 2014)
- Testing the efficiency of a new method for detecting Clostridium perfringens in potable water (Industrial laboratory - Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, 2013)
I have conducted various outreach activities, during both my time at University and whilst studying for my A-levels. I have been a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ambassador (through STEMNET) since September 2012.
I also engage in using Twitter for discussing science topics and recent scientific publications, mostly focussed on microbiology.