Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Groups: Food Safety, Antimicrobial Resistance, Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology, IRLFS (Research Programme)

Research Centres: Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health

Research Fellow developing novel diagnostics for tuberculosis and investigating the spread antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment.

Mycobacteria are responsible for a range of diseases, including (among others) tuberculosis that effect animals and people. Mycobacterial diseases lead to a large number of deaths, economic hardship both in the UK and in Low-middle income countries (LMICs). Diagnostics are thought to be one of the key tools that need to be developed to help tackle these infections (WHO).  

During my PhD at the University of Nottingham  I developed novel diagnostics for mycobacterial diseases, based on using bacteriophage. I successfully patented this technology and here at the RVC I am currently funded to further develop this and novel technology further to aid the diagnosis of mycobacterial diseases in human and veterinary settings. 

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is thought to be one of the biggest challenges of our time. Antibiotic resistant infections will result in millions of deaths and a huge impact on society, without strong interdisciplinary research.

Here at the RVC I am involved in researching drivers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment, where I aim to fill in the significant gaps in research in this area, to address the potential risks the environment poses in the spread of AMR, both in the UK and in low-middle income countries. 

I am very interested in applied biology and translating research from bench to consumer. I am keen to collaborate with academia and industry.

Currently Projects:

Development and use of novel tools to detect mycobacteria. 

  • BloomsburySET Fellowship, Research England
  • CCF, PBD Biotech - Diagnosing TB in human blood

AMR and Citizen Science

  • Understanding the presence of AMR bacteria on home grown food produce (BBSRC/FSA)

Drivers of AMR in the Environment

  • Investigating the prevalence and spread of Salmonella in wildlife and characterising their antimicrobial resistance profiles. RVC IGS, Universty of Nottingham
  • Developing risk metrics for AMR in Kenya. LIDC 
  • Prevalence of AMR in chicken farms in England

Previous Projects

'TB on the edge' - Investigating the spread of TB in badgers on the endemic edge in England

  • Defra, University of Nottingham, University of Surrey, University of Liverpool


Shield, C.G.; Swift, B.M.C.; McHugh, T.D.; Dedrick, R.M.; Hatfull, G.F.; Satta, G. Application of Bacteriophages for Mycobacterial Infections, from Diagnosis to Treatment. Microorganisms 2021, 9, 2366.

Swift, B. M. C., Barron, E., Christley, R. Corbetta, D., Grau-Roma, L., Jewell, C., O’Cathail, C., Mitchell, A., Phoenix, J., Prosser. A., Rees, C., Sorley, M., Verin, R., Bennett, M. 2021. Tuberculosis in badgers where the bovine tuberculosis epidemic is expanding in cattle in England. Scientific Reports.

Kubala, A., Perehinec, T. M., Evans, C., Pirovano, A., Swift, B. M. C., Rees, C. E. D. 2021. Development of a method to detect Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in the blood of farmed deer using Actiphage® Rapid. Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Jones, H., Shield, C., Swift, B. 2020. The Application of Bacteriophage Diagnostics for Bacterial Pathogens in the Agricultural Supply Chain: From Farm-to-Fork. PHAGE: Therapy, Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1089/phage.2020.0042.

Molenaar, F., Burr, P., Swift, B., Rees, C., Masters, N. 2020. Conservation Challenges: The Limitations of Antemortem Tuberculosis Testing In Captive Asiatic Lions (Panthera Leo Persica). J. of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 51(2):426-432

Mugampoza, D., Gkatzionis, K., Swift, B. M. C., Rees, C., Dodd. C. 2020. Diversity of Lactobacillus Species of Stilton Cheese Relates to Site of Isolation. Front. Microbiol.

Swift B.M.C., Meade N., Barron E.S., Bennett M., Perehenic T., Hughes V., Stevenson K., Rees C.E.D. 2019. The development and use of Actiphage® to detect viable mycobacteria from bovine tuberculosis and Johne's disease-infected animals. Microb Biotechnol. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.

Verma, R., Swift, B. Handley-Hartill, W., Lee, J., Woltmann, G., Rees, C., Haldar, P. 2019. A Novel, High-sensitivity, Bacteriophage-based Assay Identifies Low-level Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteremia in Immunocompetent Patients With Active and Incipient Tuberculosis, Clinical Infectious Diseases,

Swift, BMC and Rees, CED. 2019.  The specificity of phage testing for MAP — where might it fit into the diagnostic armoury? UK-vet livestock.  PPS 2011.   

Swift, B., Bennett, M., Waller, K., Dodd, C., Murray, A., Gomes, R., Humphreys, B., Hobman, J., Jones, M., Whitlock, S., Mitchell, L., Lennon, R., Arnold, K. 2018. Anthropogenic environmental drivers of antimicrobial resistance in wildlife. STOTEN. 649. 12-20

Barron, E., Swift, B., Chantrey, J., Christley, R., Gardner, R., Jewell, C., McGrath, I., Mitchell, A., O’Cathail, C., Prosser, A., Ridout, S, Sanchez, G., Smith, N., Timofte, D., Williams, N., Bennett, M. 2018. A study of tuberculosis in road traffic-killed badgers on the edge of the British bovine TB epidemic area. Sci Reports.

Gerrard, Z., Swift, B., Botsaris, G., Davidson, R., Hutchings, M., Huxley, J., Rees, C. Survival of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in retail pasteurised milk. 2018. Food Micro. 74: 57-63.

Donnellan, S., Stone, V., Johnston, H., Giardiello, M., Owen, A., Rannard, S., Aljayyoussi, G., Swift, B., Tran, L., Watkins, C., and Stevenson, K. 2017. Intracellular delivery of nano-formulated antituberculosis drugs enhances bactericidal activity. Journal of Interdisciplinary Nanomedicine, 2: 146–156. doi: 10.1002/jin2.27.

Swift, B. M. C., Huxley, J. N., Plain, K. M., Begg, D. J., de Silva, K., Purdie, A. C., Whittington, R. J., Rees, C. E. D. 2016. Evaluation of the limitations and methods to improve rapid phage-based detection of viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in the blood of experimentally infected cattle. BMC Veterinary Research. DOI: 10.1186/s12917-016-0728-2.

Swift, B. M. C., Convery, T. W. & Rees, C. E. D. 2016. Evidence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex bacteraemia in intradermal skin test positive cattle detected using phage-RPA. Virulence. Page 6 of 35 DOI:10.1080/21505594.2016.1191729.

Botsaris, G., Swift. B.M.C., Slana, I., Liapi, M., Christodoulou, M., Hatzitofi, M., Christodoulou, V. & Rees C.E.D. 2016. Detection of viable Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in powdered infant formula by phage-PCR and confirmed by culture. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 216, 91-4.

Swift, B. M., Gerrard, Z. E., Huxley, J. N. & Rees, C. E. 2014. Factors Affecting Phage D29 Infection: A Tool to Investigate Different Growth States of Mycobacteria. PLoS One, 9, e106690.

Swift, B. M. C., Denton, E. J., Mahendran, S. A., Huxley, J. N., Rees, C. E. D. 2013. Development of a rapid phage-based method for the detection of viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in blood within 48 h. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 94, 175-179.

Rees, C. E. D., Swift. B. M. C., Botsaris, G. 2013. Bacteriophage-Based Techniques for Detection of Foodborne Pathogens. ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FOOD MICROBIOLOGY, SECOND EDITION.

Swift, B. M. & Rees, C. E. D. 2013. Detecting mycobacteria in cattle blood. Vet Rec, 173, 522-3.

Swift and Rees (2013) GB Patent 1317392.7. Entitled: “MYCOBACTERIA DETECTION”.

I am Deputy Module Leader for the Advanced Concepts of BioBusiness (ACBB) module - where we explore the opportunities and applications of science outside of academia. ACBB focusses on applying business theory to Biobusinesses and gives students the opportunity to interact with a range of people in this sector.

I teach lectures on antimicrobial resistance to both BSc and MSc students.

I am interesting in supervising both undergrad and postgrad students on novel diagnostics and antimicrobial resistance.


I am very interested in outreach and happy to be contacted about any opportunities.

  • Development of rapid diagnostics to detect mycobacterial infections

    Mycobacteria are very difficult to culture and can take weeks to grow. The aim of this project is to is to use novel patented bacteriophage technology to rapidly detect and diagnose infections caused by mycobacteria, such as Tuberculosis and Johne’s disease. Mycobacterial pathogens are responsible for a range of diseases in both humans and animals. TB in humans is primarily caused by M. tuberculosis and TB in cattle is primarily caused by M. bovis. Both organisms are members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex group of organisms.

Top of page