Ben Pascoe from the Sheppard Lab has returned from a successful workshop in the Gambia organised with collaborators from MRC CLIMB. The two-day workshop introduced attendees to CLIMB and working with their own VM participants assembled a test set of bacterial genomes, which they analysed to asses quality, type, call MLST sequence types, identify antimicrobial resistance genes and define core and accessory genomes. The visit was enjoyable and with the inauguration of President Adama Barrow tomorrow (18th Feb) these are very exciting times in the Gambia and hopefully the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.
This 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.
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.
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!
Sam and Ben are featuring on a current affairs programme on about chicken welfare, microbiology and egg production. Check this out on BBC iPlayer (mostly in Welsh language).
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.
It was a pleasure for us to host Håkan Johansson, as a visiting PhD student working with us on Campylobacter genomics as part of a FORMAS grant with Linnéuniversitetet (Sweden). On the picture below you can see Håkan officially receiving his Visiting Scholar Rubber Duck Award from Sam. Who even got some Rubus chamaemorus jam in return!