Current Fourth Years
Rebecca graduated from Oxford University in 2018, with a BA(hons) degree in Cell & Systems Biology. She specialised in neuroscience and cellular physiology & pharmacology, and for her final year research project investigated “the role of GABA in long-term retention of sensorimotor adaptation in the ageing brain”. After graduating, Rebecca undertook laboratory placements at the universities of Oxford and Santiago de Compostela exploring the role of TPC1 in murine metabolism and obesity.
She subsequently gained industry experience working at a medical communications company in Reading.
Rebecca is now keen to return to academic science conducting her own research in the neuroscience and physiology of addiction and pain, using interdisciplinary approaches. Working with Dr Chris Bailey (Bath University) and Prof Eamonn Kelly (Bristol University), Rebecca is investigating “the chronic effects of G-protein biased agonists at the mu opioid receptor in the brain” from molecular through to systemic and behavioural levels.
Frank graduated from Newcastle University in 2019 with an MBiol in Cellular and Molecular Biology. During his degree he undertook a summer studentship investigating the control of spot blotch disease in wheat. For his final year project, he sequenced the genome of a plant colonising strain of Pseudomonas and developed techniques for its use as a synthetic biology chassis organism.
Frank will be based primarily at the University of Bath working on his project titled ‘Environmental bacteria as a reservoir of novel antibiotic resistance mechanisms’ under the supervision of Dr Susanne Gebhard. The project will seek to identify the genes responsible for resistance to antimicrobial peptides in Streptomyces’s and how they are regulated.
Gina graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry (Cardiff University, 2017) having spent her Professional Training Year investigating the effect of a prion subunit of chromatin-remodelling ATPase SWI/SNF on the chromatin architecture of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. During this time, she developed Next Generation Sequencing and bioinformatics skills, and subsequently expanded these working as the lead technician for the Genomics Research Hub (Cardiff University). Over the last two years Gina has gained an in-depth knowledge of DNA library preparation protocols for both Illumina and Oxford Nanopore sequencing platforms.
For her PhD, Gina will be utilising her knowledge of nanopore sequencing to study a potential palm-oil alternative, the yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima. Investigating the genetic and epigenetic changes that occur as a result of adaptive laboratory evolution, she will combine these experiments with mathematical modelling and novel bioinformatic tools to investigate correlations between epimutation and genome structure to establish whether beneficial phenotypes can be recovered.
Current Third Years
Josie graduated from the University of Oxford in 2019 after completing an integrated masters in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. During her final year Josie worked as part of the Seiradake lab in the Biochemistry department. Her project centred on the structural characteristics and phylogeny of the animal neuronal protein Teneurin.
To pursue her interest in applying her biochemical background to evolutionary research, Josie is currently studying at the University of Bath working with Dr Tiffany Taylor and Dr Edze Westra on the evolutionary consequences of horizontal gene transfer of antiviral defences between bacterial species. Specifically, her project explores how novel CRISPR-Cas systems are regulated following horizontal gene transfer between Pseudomonas species.
Studentship led by Rothamsted Research
Erika graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2020 with a BSc in Biological Science (Plant Science). During her degree she worked as an undergraduate research assistant under Dr Naomi Nakayama to study the mechanisms underlying informed dispersal of the dandelion seed. For her final year project, she worked with Dr Attila Molnar to elucidate whether the targeted gene-editing process of single-stranded template repair (SSTR) is independent of homologous recombination in the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Her work was awarded the Lang Scholarship Prize for the Plant Science Top Project.
Erika’s PhD Project is titled “Fusarium disease of wheat – exploring tissue specific host-pathogen interactions using a systems biology approach” and is supervised by Dr Martin Urban. The project aims to elucidate genetic interactions between Fusarium graminearum and wheat through a combination of molecular genetics, transcriptomics, microscopy, and computational biology.
Stephanie graduated from Cardiff University in 2020 with an Integrated Masters degree in Biomedical Science. She completed her masters project under the supervision of Dr Florian Siebzehnrubl in the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, where she investigated the role of alternative splicing of the fibroblast growth factor receptor in glioblastoma. It was throughout her undergraduate studies that Stephanie developed a keen interest in developmental biology and its roots with the aetiology of human disease.
Stephanie will now be working under the supervision of Dr Keith Vance and Dr Robert Kelsh in the University of Bath, combining her research interests to investigate the role of long non-coding RNAs during melanocyte development in zebrafish and human melanoma. Findings from this project will provide important insights into the role of long non-coding RNAs in controlling key cellular processes including growth and differentiation, and how this may contribute to melanoma.
Current Second Years
Reem graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2016 with a BSc in Molecular Genetics. After completing her Honours year research project in a parasitology lab, she developed a keen interest in parasitology and infectious disease. Hence, she went on to complete a MSc in Molecular Microbiology at the University of Bath, where she used bioinformatics to study exogenous small non-coding RNA in parasitic nematodes.
During her PhD at the Hunt lab in the University of Bath, Reem will use wet and dry lab techniques to study the activity and regulation of transposable elements in parasitic nematodes in comparison to their genetically identical free-living control.
Scott graduated from the University of Sheffield with an MBiolSci in Biochemistry in 2020. His final year research project, under Prof David Rice, utilised x-ray crystallography to study the structure-function relationship between components of the Type 6 Secretion System. From this, Scott gained employment as a protein scientist at the contract research organisation, Peak Proteins. Here, he worked on all thing’s proteins, purifying and characterising various proteins for a large variety of clients.
Scott’s PhD involves the development of peptides that can effectively inhibit the toxic accumulation of alpha-synuclein. He is supervised by The University of Bath’s Prof Jody Mason and Dr Robert Williams and The University of Bristol’s Prof Matt Crump.
Floris holds a BSc in Nanobiology and a MSc in Biomedical Engineering, both obtained at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Following his studies, he worked as an advanced research assistant at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge, engaging in pluripotent stem cell-based approaches to study brown adipose tissue differentiation and activation. His main interests lie within the fields of biomaterials, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.
Under supervision of Prof Adele Murrell and Dr Karim Malik, and in collaboration with biotech company bit.bio, Floris’ PhD project focuses on differentiated normal cell identity and the epigenetic barriers to trans-differentiation and reprogramming.
Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with the University of Bath + Swansea University
Sindhuja Krishnamoorthy is an international student from Bangkok, Thailand. She pursued her undergraduate and master’s degree from the University of Arlington, USA and the University of British Columbia, Canada, respectively in Biomedical Engineering. After having gained a B.Sc and M.Eng degree, Sindhuja then continued to pursue a clinical fellowship under the Department of Surgery in Neurosurgery at Mahidol University, Thailand.
Due to the experiences gained during her academic career, Sindhuja had developed a particular proclivity towards nanomedicine, drug delivery, biomaterials and tissue engineering. Thus, is now working towards a PhD in Biosciences under the SWBio DTP program at the University of Bath and Swansea. The project, supervised by Dr Christopher Pudney and Prof Steve Conlan, involves developing a new platform for detecting the stability of biopharmaceuticals.
Lucy graduated from the University of Bath in 2020 with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science with Professional Placement. Lucy completed her dissertation under the supervision of Dr Javier Gonzalez, in collaboration with the Brodsky Lab at UCL, to establish the effect of CHC22 clathrin genetic variation on glycaemic control. It was throughout this project that Lucy’s interest in health nutrition, metabolism and genetics developed further.
Lucy has returned to the University of Bath for her PhD, assessing the nutritional and metabolic requirements of individuals living with skeletal dysplasia. Lucy will take an interdisciplinary approach to her research with supervision from Prof. James Betts, Dr Javier Gonzalez and Dr Jean-Philippe Walhin at the University of Bath’s Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism, and Prof. Jeff Brunstrom and Prof. Peter Rogers based at the University of Bristol’s School of Psychological Science.
Anna graduated from Cambridge University in 2012 with a degree in Natural Sciences. She then went on to work in the sustainability sector in London for six years before returning to academia to complete a MSc in Human Nutrition in 2019. She developed research interests in the role of nutrition in metabolic dysfunction and inflammation, and her master’s thesis explored the use of dietary and lifestyle strategies to reverse type 2 diabetes.
Her PhD will explore the interactions between diet and adipose tissue inflammation in ageing. It will involve both in vitro studies and ex vitro human trials and will take place in Bath under the supervision of Prof Dylan Thompson and Dr James Turner.
Current First Years
Chidimma Gift Omenoba
Chidimma graduated from Abia State University, Nigeria in 2014 with a B.Sc. degree in Plant Science and Biotechnology. She carried on with a postgraduate B.Sc. Honours degree in Agriculture majoring in Plant Breeding at the University of the Free State South Africa and graduated in 2019. She further undertook her master’s project at the same university, under Dr. Angeline van Biljon’s supervision, where she investigated the influence of wheat bread-making gene on the gluten-protein fractions of South Africa bread wheat cultivars.
Her M.Sc. project fueled her passion to explore more in research on wheat genetics and breeding in other to contribute to the quest of ensuring global food security. She will be studying the epigenetic fate of introgressed DNA in the wheat genome under the supervision of Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Nuetzmann at University of Bath.
Studentship led by Rothamsted Research
Nathan graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BSc in Biology in 2021. During the summer before his final year, he was awarded an SWBio studentship to gain experience in Dr Smita Kurup’s lab at the agricultural research centre Rothamsted Research, where he further developed his interests in plant science. Following completion of his undergraduate degree, Nathan began a research master’s in Dr Keara Franklin’s lab at the University of Bristol, investigating the effects of preharvest, UV-B light treatments on delaying dark-induced senescence.
For his PhD, Nathan will be researching the hormonal and genetic regulatory pathways involved in controlling/increasing ovule numbers in important agricultural crops such as Brassica napus. His project is being undertaken at Rothamsted Research under the main supervision of Dr Smita Kurup.
Meg graduated from the University of Sussex in 2021 with an MSci Neuroscience (research placement). Her research projects focused on the cellular impact of Deep Brain Stimulation treatment of Parkinson’s disease. She developed a keen interest in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying clinical treatments of nervous system dysfunction.
For her PhD project at the University of Bath, supervised by Dr Chris Bailey, Dr Robert Williams, and Professor Eamonn Kelly, Meg will study the functional roles of presynaptic opioid receptors. This multidisciplinary project will test several receptor subtypes in the investigation of a new class of opioids with the potential for higher potency and reduced side effects.
Meg received a first-class BSc Bioscience from the University of Suffolk in 2021 and then completed her MSc Biomedical Sciences Research from University of Bristol. Meg’s interest in the skeletal system led her to choose her MSc project, where she looked at the roles of Wdr5 and Piezo1, known as high bone mass genes, in fracture repair and regeneration, using zebrafish as a model. She wanted to continue working with zebrafish, and for her PhD project, Meg shall be looking at the ancestral functions of genes regulated by imprinting in mammals. Genomic imprinting was believed to have evolved to act on genes that have a role in growth regulation and other developmental process. In this project, supervised by Prof. Andrew Ward and Prof. Robert Kelsh, we hope to show that Grb10 has a role in growth regulation in zebrafish.
Rachel graduated from the University of York in 2017 with an MChem in Chemistry. Her final year project concerned activity-based profiling of mannosidase enzymes, under the supervision of Prof. Gideon Davies. Following graduation, Rachel worked for Evotec as a protein production scientist. This was followed by two-and-a-half years as a peptide chemist at PepGen, developing peptide-oligonucleotide conjugates for the treatment of neuromuscular disease.
Despite enjoying her time in biotech, Rachel decided to return to academia to further develop her skills in peptide chemistry and the wider biosciences – she will be supervised by Prof. Susanne Gebhard and Prof. Jody Mason. Her PhD project concerns the development of peptide inhibitors to disrupt bacterial cell signalling with the aim of overcoming antibiotic resistance.
Shani graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2022 with an MSc in Microbiology and Infection. In 2021 they started as a research technician in Dr. Tiffany Taylor’s lab. In this experimental microbiology group, Shani works with a post-Doc to produce data that will elucidate the mechanistic and environment-dependent biases in mutation that dictate the adaptive potential of evolving bacteria. This work fuelled their interest in evolutionary microbiology.
Shani’s Ph.D. focuses on attributing the source of antimicrobial-resistant diarrhoeal disease through the identification of genomic source markers.