Full house Darwin Day Lecture!

Darwin_day_image.jpgThis years Darwin day lecture was delivered by Professor Nick Davies FRS (Cambridge University). In his talk, entitled ‘Cuckoo – cheating by nature’, Prof Davies described one of nature’s most intriguing stories to a packed lecture theatre at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. Captivating photographic and video footage showed how some cuckoo species lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and how little warblers are tricked into feeding enormous cuckoo chicks. In his talk, Prof Davies described how 30 years of elegant field experiments have revealed a continuing evolutionary arms race in which escalating host defences have selected for remarkable cuckoo trickery, including different guises in female cuckoos, forgeries of host eggs and manipulative begging by cuckoo chicks. This is a fascinating corner of Darwin’s “entangled bank” where organisms are continually adapting to keep up with changes in their rivals. Many thanks to all those who helped to make this event such a great success.


Até mais, Gabriel!

Yesterday we had a leaving party for Gabriel “Bola”/”Gabrinho” Rossi, who was a visiting member of our lab from São Paulo State University (Brazil) as part of his PhD studies on the genomics of Bacillus in dairy products. Good times we’ve had, good times to come!


Gabriel partying hard with Evangelos, Jess, Guillaume and Sam.
Crawl route: The Scallop Shell, The Bath Brew House, Flan O’Brian’s, The Pig and Fiddle, The Bell, The Common Room.


Welcome Jess!

Our laboratory is very glad to welcome Jessica Calland as a starting PhD student with us! She will work on Campylobacter genomics, population biology and vaccines. Prior to joining us, Jess has completed her MSc at the University of Bath working on Vibrio genomics in 2016. Good luck and we look forward to many exciting projects and research!


Jess, clearly thrilled to start with us!



We are delighted to welcome Evangelos Mourkas, as a starting PhD student in our lab! Evangelos, who got his DVM from Greece, is coming to us from Uppsala University (Sweden). His research here will focus on Campylobacter transmission ecology.

Evangelos and Guillaume next to the University pond, being photobombed by an oblivious male mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) who has no idea of what Evangelos usually does to his species as part of his infection experiments work.


#TeamEvangelos, the genesis.

PhD studentship in Campylobacter Genomics and Evolution (2017-2020) available in our laboratory

This exciting project will be conducted under the direct supervision of Prof Samuel K. Sheppard, and based within Department of Biology and Chemistry at the University of Bath (UK) in the new Milner Centre for Evolution.

Project description:
The successful applicant will join a multidisciplinary group focusing on comparative genomics and evolution of bacterial pathogens of public health importance. They will investigate the genetic basis and ecology of Campylobacter by explaining the factors involved in generating and maintaining genotypic and phenotypic diversity among isolates in the primary reservoir of human disease, poultry. Comparative and functional genomics approaches will examine genetic structuring and answer fundamental questions about how genetic variation and genome plasticity influence adaptation and the evolution of pathogens. Bioinformatics will be exploited for the design of vaccines for the control of Campylobacter in broiler chickens on farm. They will be responsible for culturing isolates, extracting DNA for genetic characterisation, analysing genomic data and carrying molecular and functional characterisation in the lab. The student will also spend a three month placement at Ridgeway Biologicals Ltd where he/she will be involved in the manufacture of autogenous vaccines prior to testing on farm.

Enthusiasm and practical experience in microbiology, molecular techniques (PCR, sequencing) and computer based genetic analysis, is necessary but training and support will be provided to strengthen these areas. The successful candidate will be highly motivated, creative, independent and have expertise in microbiology or bioinformatics (or both), and a relevant degree. Previous experience in a molecular biology laboratory or in genome analysis is also strongly desirable. Good English writing and oral skills are essential. The applicant must be a UK citizen or have resided in the UK for 3 years prior to appointment.

– The duration of a studentship is 3-4 years (2017-2020).
– The position is open until filled, but a preferred deadline for application is 1st Dec 2016, to allow for registration and the project to start ASAP from Feb 2017.
– Salary will be commensurate with regular UK postgraduate stipends, i.e. £14,000 per annum tax-free.
– Please contact Samuel Sheppard (sheppardlab@gmail.com) for informal inquiries or applications (please attach CV and describe motivation).

To apply by e-mail, please describe motivation and attach a CV to sheppardlab@gmail.com. More details about the laboratory on this website.