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.

Collaborative meetings in Brazil

A few weeks ago, Sam Sheppard and Guillaume Méric have travelled to Brazil (São Paulo, and Santa Catarina states) to meet with friends and collaborators from the 1st Workshop on “Next Generation Sequencing to improve Livestock Welfare and Food Security” that we had helped organise in October 2015 in São Paulo. Very promising outcomes, stay tuned!


Top right, and just below: Sam and Guillaume giving talks at EMBRAPA, Concordia (SC, Brazil); top left: with Dr Dani Chiebao in SP; bottom: meeting at EMBRAPA with Dr Monica Ledur, Dr Clarissa Vaz, Dr Adriana Ibelli and colleagues.


Move to the University of Bath

After more than 4 productive and fruitful years at Swansea University Medical School, our laboratory has now relocated to the University of Bath, at the Department of Biology & Biotechnology, and will be part of the future Milner Centre for Evolution in the near future! Along with Sam Sheppard, Daniel Falush, Guillaume Méric and Ben Pascoe have also joined the lab from Swansea.

Our website has been updated, and as always, you can follow our updates on this page, as well as on our Twitter feed (@sheppard_lab).

Spring visitors

Good times! We are delighted to have been hosting many visiting researchers and collaborators in the last few weeks. There were no less than 7 of them in the picture below (names with links in legend):


From left to right; front row: Maria Carvalho (UHW/Cardiff University, UK), Phacharaporn Boonkhot (Chiang Mai University, Thailand), Tal Shpigel (Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Tel Aviv, Israel), Heather Chick, Nattinee Kittiwan (Chiang Mai University, Thailand), Amandine Thépault (ANSES, Ploufragran, France). Middle row: Sam Sheppard, Susan Murray, Elvire Berthenet, Lisa Williams, Rhys Jones, Llinos Harris. Back row: Diego Flórez Cuadrado (Complutense University of Madrid, Spain), Philippe Lehours (INSERM U853, University of Bordeaux, France); Guillaume Méric, Ben Pascoe, Dan John.