Ongoing Funded Projects

4. Tracking Functional Microbiomes Of The UKs Anaerobic Digestion Reactors

This project is funded by the BBSRC, through their "Tools and Resources Development Fund". It aims to collect weekly microbiome data for over a year from several industrial-scale anaerobic digestion plants across the UK. Thus, the project will achieve an unprecedented temporal microbiome data set from these methane producing bioreactors. This data set, together with meta-data on methane production and other operational parameters, will be used to develop computational models for predicting community function, structure and failure. Timeframe: 2016-2017. See project website anaerodynamics

3. Engineering a synthetic community for high value chemical production

This project is part of the Warwick Integrative Centre for Synthetic Biology (WISB) that is funded by the BBSRC and EPSRC. It is a collaborative project with several other PIs within WISB and aims to build a synthetic ecosystem that incorporates phototrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms. The resulting system will be targeted to become a bioproduction platform for conversion of sunlight into high value chemicals, and at the same time act as a model system for understanding microbial ecology in the aqueous environments. Timeframe: 2015-2017.

2. Modelling host-virus metabolic interaction

Funding for this PhD studentship comes from DSTL, under their research program on pathogens posing a biothreat. Parasites have evolved elaborate mechanisms for manipulating the host environment to improve their own survival and growth. In particular, viruses have evolved strategies to down-regulate expression or inhibit proper folding of specific host proteins. These strategies modulate host cell physiology and metabolism. These findings raise the possibility that host metabolism could be modulated in such a way so to resist pathogen-mediated reprogramming, and thereby allow for increased host resistance. This project builds on our expertise in analysing viral infection of host cells through a modelling approach that treats the virus-infected cell as a single metabolic system. Timeframe: 2014-2017.

1. Engineering synthetic microbial communities for biomethane production

This project is funded by BBSRC as part of their 20m investment in synthetic biology. One of the six strategic LoLa's (longer and larger grants), this 5 year project brings together an interdisciplinary team of engineers, microbiologists, evolutionary biologists, synthetic biologists, and bioinformaticians to understand natural microbial communities and engineer synthetic ones. The communities we will focus are those that underline anaerobic digestion; breakdown of organic waste into methane in the absence of oxygen. To read more about the project and track our progress, please visit the dedicated project website. Timeframe: 2013-2018.

Past projects

Parasite disruption points in host networks This project was funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) as part of the partnership program between DSTL and University of Exeter. The project concentrated on analysing epigenetic changes upon host infection. Timeframe: 2013-2016.

Parasite-host interaction at the metabolic level This project was funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) as part of the partnership program between DSTL and University of Exeter. The project concentrated on analyzing the interaction of Burkholderia pseudomallei and Francisella tularensis with human macrophages. Timeframe: 2012-2015.

Engineering a semi-biotic immune system. This project was funded by the EPSRC Flashlight Funding: Engineering Challenges in Synthetic Biology initiative, which aims to support young academics that are the leaders of the future. Timeframe: 2010-2015. EPSRC link

Deciphering The Molecular Basis of Environmental Persistence in Campylobacter Using a Systems Approach (research project with Titball R, Hemsley C, and Luo J, funded by BBSRC). 2011-2014. BBSRC link

Evolving controllers and controlling evolution (research project with Akman O, Bates D, Steinacher A, and Montefusco F, funded by EPSRC). 2011-2014. EPSRC link

Computational capabilities and underlying mechanisms in biological signaling networks (PhD project, Varun Kothamachu, funded by a EPSRC/Microsoft Research Dorothy Hodgkin PhD Award). 2010 - 2014.

Response dynamics and evolution in signalling networks regulating bacterial chemotaxis (PhD project, Munia Amin, funded by Exeter Systems Biology). 2010 - 2013.