My PhD is split between the University of Liverpool and the University of York, under the supervision of Greg Hurst at the former and Mike Brockhurst at the latter. I am interested in all things evolution and ecology related.
My project focuses on the biology of host-shifts. Host-shifts occur commonly in nature and are often result in the emergence of infectious diseases that affect not only humans, but livestock and agriculture. When a host shift occurs, the parasite/pathogen is placed in a very novel environment, to which they are not adapted. In my PhD I seek to establish:
a) The extent of adaptation that occurs following a host shift event.
b) Whether this adaptation then makes it able to thrive in (and thus jump into) a related host.
c) Whether this adaptation makes it less able to prosper in (and jump back to) its ancestral host.
In addition, I am interested in the environmental and biological factors that make a symbiont or pathogen more likely to have a broad or narrow host range. The project will achieve this through establishing novel host-microbe combinations for insect-microbe and microbe-plasmid interactions.
Previous work at the Institute of Evolutionary Science (ISEM), France,includes investigating life history traits and local mate competition in the Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae. I have looked at the efficacy of Bacteriophages, in combination with antibiotics, in eliminating a strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa using the Wax Moth larvae, Galleria mellonella, as an in vivo model. I have also spent some time investigating the effects of the Paramecium parasite, Holospora undulata, on the predation rate of Didinium nasutum.
Previous work at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, Birmingham includes evolving two fungal species, Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans in the common biocide, Triclosan, in order to select for antifungal resistance using .
Banerji, A. Duncan, A, B. Griffin, J, S. Humphries, S. Petchey, O, L. Kaltz, O. (2014) Density- and trait-mediated effects of a parasite and a predator in a tri-trophic food web. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12317