I am a lecturer in Microbial Ecology in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath and part of the Milner Centre for Evolution. I study fungal interactions including interactions with bacteria, plants, animals, other fungi, and themselves. I use experiments and genomics to try to understand how fungi respond to these interactions and their environment. I am particularly interested in finding ways to use these interactions to support applications for sustainable industry, agriculture and the environment.
The first part of my research is essentially about measuring fungal biodiversity and inferring its role in larger communities. Genomics serves the dual purpose of allowing high-throughput identification via targeted sequencing while also allowing fine-scale partitioning of diversity via resequencing.
The second part of my research is focused on how genomes evolve in response to environments. This research uses experiments to measure mutation types and rates in a variety of environmental conditions, and my research also uses natural populations to discover how recombination and spatial structure modify fungal evolution. With more genomes sequenced than any other eukaryotic group, fungi offer unique opportunities to study how these complex organisms respond to stressful or permissive environments.