Darwin Day 2018

Yesterday, a fascinating lecture was given at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) by Prof Mark Pagel FRS entitled: ‘The Evolution of Language – Darwin would approve’.

Prof Pagel contrasted animal communication with human language and how speech has evolved and adapted much like biological species. Bringing together concepts of hominid evolution and contemporary evidence Prof Pagel described how language led to the dominance of modern humans over our close ancestors the Neanderthals, the genetic traits that exist because of language, and the future for the many languages that are still spoken.

Untitled collage




Report on SMBE Satellite meeting in Assam, India – December 2017

On 14th-16th December 2017, Prof. Sam Sheppard and Dr. Sion Bayliss from the Sheppard Lab (University of Bath) presented the MRC CLIMB project at the SMBE satellite meeting – “Evolution of microbes in natural and experimental populations”. The meeting was hosted by Dr. Siddartha Satapathy and Prof. Suvendra Ray (Tezpur University, Assam, India) in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India.


During the MRC CLIMB session, Sam Sheppard and Sion Bayliss introduced the CLIMB project, described the infrastructure and detailed the VM provisioning model. Sion Bayliss gave an introduction to methodologies used in the analysis of whole genome sequence data for microbial genomics. Dr. Harry Thorpe (University of Bath) provided a video walk-through of a data analysis project, from raw data to phylogenetic tree, by way of a user testimonial for CLIMB.

Finally, a limited-over cricket game between India and the Rest of the World unsurprisingly resulted in a smashing win from our Indian hosts (by 6 wickets)!

The full final report for the is available here.


CLIMB workshop at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Ben Pascoe, Sion Bayliss and Radoslaw Poplawski have returned from a successful MRC CLIMB workshop in Vietnam. The two-day workshop introduced attendees to CLIMB and working with their own virtual machine. Participants used EDGE to assemble bacterial genomes, asses the quality of sequence reads and assemblies, identify contamination, define isolate phylogeny compared to selected reference genomes and identify common virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes. Many thanks to our hosts Guy Thwaits, Stephen Baker, Phil Ashton and Cate Anscome for inviting us to OUCRU and we hope to visit again soon.



New visitors in our lab!

We are glad to welcome Diana Espadinha (ITQB NOVA, Oeiras, Portugal) and Diego Flórez Cuadrado (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain) to our lab for a research stay with us as part of their PhD studies. Diana will stay 3 weeks, working on Staphylococcus genomics while Diego, for his second stay with us, will spend 3 months working on Campylobacter genomics and antimicrobial resistance. #goodtimes!


Top picture: Diana and Diego, on St. Patrik’s day at the Parade (Uni. of Bath); bottom picture, at the Raven of Bath, from left to right: Ben Pascoe, Evangelos Mourkas, Jean van Elsen, Diego Florez Cuadrado, Diana Espadinha, Jess Calland, Sam Sheppard, Guillaume Méric.