I am an Imperial College Research Fellow at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. I initially trained in physics and evolutionary biology, and currently I am working on the evolution of human pathogens in an epidemiological context.
My interests are focused around the question of bacterial recombination. These microorganisms were for decades thought to be mostly clonal, but recent advancement in genetic sequencing has showed us that full clonality is rather the exception than the rule. Turns out bacteria can shuffle genes at unprecedented scales and rapidly adapt to the harshest environments. Common use of vaccines and antibiotics makes the little guys work very hard to overcome these selective pressures. Without knowing, we are creating monsters which are a threat to public health.
In my research I am trying to understand how bacteria adapt against these clinically-induced selective pressures. I am working closely with the rearchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to analyse genomic data of bacterial pathogens, e.g., Streptococcus pneumoniae, and use mathematical modelling and statistical inference to better understand the patterns of adaptation in their genomes. I am also interested in developing novel methods for a better use of rapidly growing genomic databases.
Mostowy RJ, Holt KE, 2018, Diversity-generating machines: genetics of bacterial sugar-coating, Trends in Microbiology, ISSN:0966-842X
et al., 2017, Evolution of the Staphylococcus argenteus ST2250 Clone in Northeastern Thailand is linked with the acquisition of livestock-associated Staphylococcal genes, Mbio, Vol:8, ISSN:2150-7511
et al., 2017, Pneumococcal capsule synthesis locus cps as evolutionary hotspot with potential to generate novel serotypes by recombination, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol:34, ISSN:1537-1719, Pages:2537-2554
et al., 2017, Efficient Inference of Recent and Ancestral Recombination within Bacterial Populations, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol:34, ISSN:0737-4038, Pages:1167-1182
et al., 2016, Horizontal DNA transfer mechanisms of bacteria as weapons of intragenomic conflict, Plos Biology, Vol:14, ISSN:1545-7885