My research interests are in the area of the genetic basis of virulence and host preference in members of the MTBC. I am particularly interested in the transcriptional regulation of virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance determinants in Mycobacterial species. I have worked for over 20 years with pathogenic Mycobacteria and my current group are funded by the BBSRC, DEFRA and the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network.
My research interests are in the area of developing novel diagnostics for mycobacterial infections primarily tuberculosis in people and cattle, as well as Johne’s disease. The technology I have developed uses bacteriophages to target mycobacteria, resulting in detection within hours compared to the several weeks it takes to culture. Using these methods I hope to gain a better understanding of the pathophysiology of mycobacterial infections, as well as providing an alternative tool for detection. I also have an interest in the role of badgers in the spread of TB – as part of a Defra funded project. I am currently funded by a BloomsburySET (Research England) research fellowship.
Research Assistant/Associate in diagnostic development
This member of staff no longer works for The RVC.
I joined the Swift group in 2019, funded by Bloomsbury SET, aiming to develop a robust and sensitive method to diagnose Mycobacteria infections. The work builds upon existing literature utilising mycobacteriophage ecology and dynamics to evolve diagnostic biotechnology for field applications. The method is going to be utilised to detect Mycobacteria species of significant importance to veterinary and human health such as Mycobacterium bovis, Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The ultimate aim of the project is to apply and compare the biotechnological developments to existing diagnostic methods using clinical samples. I am currently enhancing existing molecular, microbiological and biotechnology skills developed during my PhD and subsequent research position to this novel, developing technology.