Theo is a PhD candidate studing the evolution of secondary metabolites in lichenised fungi. His work studies the genetic and chemical basis of anthraquinone pigments, a class of lichen compounds that absorb visible and UV light, protecting the lichen from DNA damage and photoinhibition. This research will act as a model system to study the evolution of fungal secondary metabolism in extreme environments. His work combines methods from phylogenomics, chemogenomics and metabolomics and is supervised by Dr Ester Gaya (RBG Kew), Professor Tim Barraclough (Imperial and University of Oxford) and Dr Tom Prescott (RBG Kew).
Theo's PhD forms part of the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Programme (SSCP DTP) at Imperial Colleges' Grantham Institute and he is based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. His research is funded by NERC.
Theo holds a first class MSci degree in Biological Sciences from University College London (UCL) and a distinction-level MSc in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Biodiversity and Conservation from Queen Mary University of London and RBG Kew.