I am a senior research officer in the Systems Genomics lab at the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute (Melbourne, Australia) and a visiting researcher at the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Monash University Central Clinical School (Melbourne, Australia), and the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath (UK).
My research interests are broad and revolve around the ecology and evolution of environmental and pathogenic bacteria in relation to their human or animal hosts. I study different levels of these host-pathogen/host-bacterial interactions, mainly with a microbial population biology and a metagenomics angle: how the ecology and environment can impact on microbial evolution, how pathogens emerge from background asymptomatically-carried populations, how microbes jump and transmit between various hosts and how functional communities assemble in microbial environments. One of my focus is to understand the impact of host factors (ecology, physiology or immunity) on the evolution and adaptation of the bacterial species they carry. Prior to moving to Australia, I have been interested in how intensive agriculture and the domestication of livestock could have an impact on the microbes/pathogens they carry, on their evolution, ecology and virulence to humans and animals. Since joining my current laboratory, I have added metagenomics and multi-omics approaches to my research.
Unrelated to science, another of my interest is art, especially paintings from around 1860-1950. The header images of this website are details from three paintings that I particularly like, and picked to naively (but beautifully) represent the various host and environments of some microbes that I have worked on in the past:
- Humans, birds & the sea: Edward Hopper, The “Martha McKeen” of Wellfleet, 1944 (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid).
- Humans & plants: Joaquín Sorolla, Sewing the Sail, 1896 (Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Italy).
- Soil & roots: Egon Schiele, Setting Sun, 1913 (Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria).
Thank you for visiting!