Imperial College London

Dr Kieran Bates

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Visiting Researcher







VC9Variety Club WingSt Mary's Campus





Publication Type

6 results found

Bates KA, Bolton JS, King KC, 2021, A globally ubiquitous symbiont can drive experimental host evolution, MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, Vol: 30, Pages: 3882-3892, ISSN: 0962-1083

Journal article

Stevens EJ, Bates KA, King KC, 2021, Host microbiota can facilitate pathogen infection., PLoS Pathog, Vol: 17

Animals live in symbiosis with numerous microbe species. While some can protect hosts from infection and benefit host health, components of the microbiota or changes to the microbial landscape have the potential to facilitate infections and worsen disease severity. Pathogens and pathobionts can exploit microbiota metabolites, or can take advantage of a depletion in host defences and changing conditions within a host, to cause opportunistic infection. The microbiota might also favour a more virulent evolutionary trajectory for invading pathogens. In this review, we consider the ways in which a host microbiota contributes to infectious disease throughout the host's life and potentially across evolutionary time. We further discuss the implications of these negative outcomes for microbiota manipulation and engineering in disease management.

Journal article

Fisher MC, Ghosh P, Shelton JMG, Bates K, Brookes L, Wierzbicki C, Rosa GM, Farrer RA, Aanensen DM, Alvarado-Rybak M, Bataille A, Berger L, Boell S, Bosch J, Clare FC, Courtois EA, Crottini A, Cunningham AA, Doherty-Bone TM, Gebresenbet F, Gower DJ, Hoglund J, James TY, Jenkinson TS, Kosch TA, Lambertini C, Laurila A, Lin C-F, Loyau A, Martel A, Meurling S, Miaud C, Minting P, Ndriantsoa S, O'Hanlon SJ, Pasmans F, Rakotonanahary T, Rabemananjara FCE, Ribeiro LP, Schmeller DS, Schmidt BR, Skerratt L, Smith F, Soto-Azat C, Tessa G, Toledo LF, Valenzuela-Sanchez A, Verster R, Voeroes J, Waldman B, Webb RJ, Weldon C, Wombwell E, Zamudio KR, Longcore JE, Garner TWJet al., 2018, Development and worldwide use of non-lethal, and minimal population-level impact, protocols for the isolation of amphibian chytrid fungi, Scientific Reports, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2045-2322

Parasitic chytrid fungi have emerged as a significant threat to amphibian species worldwide, necessitating the development of techniques to isolate these pathogens into culture for research purposes. However, early methods of isolating chytrids from their hosts relied on killing amphibians. We modified a pre-existing protocol for isolating chytrids from infected animals to use toe clips and biopsies from toe webbing rather than euthanizing hosts, and distributed the protocol to researchers as part of the BiodivERsA project RACE; here called the RML protocol. In tandem, we developed a lethal procedure for isolating chytrids from tadpole mouthparts. Reviewing a database of use a decade after their inception, we find that these methods have been applied across 5 continents, 23 countries and in 62 amphibian species. Isolation of chytrids by the non-lethal RML protocol occured in 18% of attempts with 207 fungal isolates and three species of chytrid being recovered. Isolation of chytrids from tadpoles occured in 43% of attempts with 334 fungal isolates of one species (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) being recovered. Together, these methods have resulted in Non-lethal isolation of chytrids from amphibiansa si gnificant reduction and refinement of our use of threatened amphibian species and have improved our ability to work with this group of emerging pathogens.

Journal article

Fisher M, Murray K, 2018, Recent Asian origin of chytrid fungi causing global amphibian declines, Science, Vol: 360, Pages: 621-627, ISSN: 0036-8075

Globalized infectious diseases are causing species declines worldwide, but their source often remains elusive. We used whole-genome sequencing to solve the spatiotemporal origins of the most devastating panzootic to date, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a proximate driver of global amphibian declines. We traced the source of B. dendrobatidis to the Korean peninsula, where one lineage, BdASIA-1, exhibits the genetic hallmarks of an ancestral population that seeded the panzootic. We date the emergence of this pathogen to the early 20th century, coinciding with the global expansion of commercial trade in amphibians, and we show that intercontinental transmission is ongoing. Our findings point to East Asia as a geographic hotspot for B. dendrobatidis biodiversity and the original source of these lineages that now parasitize amphibians worldwide.

Journal article

Bates K, Clare F, O'Hanlon S, Bosch J, Brookes L, McLaughlin E, Daniel O, Garner T, Fisher M, Harrison Xet al., 2018, Amphibian chytridiomycosis outbreak dynamics are linked with host skin bacterial community structure, Nature Communications, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2041-1723

Host-associated microbes are vital for combatting infections and maintaining health. In amphibians, certain skin-associated bacteria inhibit the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), yet our understanding of host microbial ecology and its role in disease outbreaks is limited. We sampled skin-associated bacteria and Bd from Pyrenean midwife toad populations exhibiting enzootic or epizootic disease dynamics. We demonstrate that bacterial communities differ between life stages with few shared taxa, indicative of restructuring at metamorphosis. We detected a significant effect of infection history on metamorph skin microbiota, with reduced bacterial diversity in epizootic populations and differences in community structure and predicted function. Genome sequencing of Bd isolates supports a single introduction to the Pyrenees and reveals no association between pathogen genetics and epidemiological trends. Our findings provide an ecologically relevant insight into the microbial ecology of amphibian skin and highlight the relative importance of host microbiota and pathogen genetics in predicting disease outcome.

Journal article

Dillon MJ, Bowkett AE, Bungard MJ, Beckman KM, O'Brien MF, Bates K, Fisher MC, Stevens JR, Thornton CRet al., 2016, Tracking the amphibian pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans using a highly specific monoclonal antibody and lateral- flow technology, Microbial Biotechnology, Vol: 10, Pages: 381-394, ISSN: 1751-7915

The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) causes chytridiomycosis, a lethal epizootic disease of amphibians. Rapid identification of the pathogen and biosecurity is essential to prevent its spread, but current laboratory-based tests are time-consuming and require specialist equipment. Here, we describe the generation of an IgM monoclonal antibody (mAb), 5C4, specific to Bd as well as the related salamander and newt pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). The mAb, which binds to a glycoprotein antigen present on the surface of zoospores, sporangia and zoosporangia, was used to develop a lateral-flow assay (LFA) for rapid (15 min) detection of the pathogens. The LFA detects known lineages of Bd and also Bsal, as well as the closely related fungus Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza, but does not detect a wide range of related and unrelated fungi and oomycetes likely to be present in amphibian habitats. When combined with a simple swabbing procedure, the LFA was 100% accurate in detecting the water-soluble 5C4 antigen present in skin, foot and pelvic samples from frogs, newts and salamanders naturally infected with Bd or Bsal. Our results demonstrate the potential of the portable LFA as a rapid qualitative assay for tracking these amphibian pathogens and as an adjunct test to nucleic acid-based detection methods.

Journal article

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