It’s already been a month since I moved from King’s Buildings to the Roslin Institute in March 2017. It wasn’t a big move in terms of distance (Roslin is just outside Edinburgh city), but it meant quite a bit in terms of research field, since I changed HIV molecular epidemiology for bacterial genomics, particularly Staphylococcus. Although for some people this might not seem too different, it implies dealing with genomes 300 hundred times larger and a much more complex genetic organisation.
I will be working in Prof. Ross Fitzgerald’s group (the “Laboratory for Bacterial Evolution and Pathogenesis”) in a Wellcome Trust funded project that aims to investigate the molecular basis of S. aureus host-adaptation.
S. aureus is an important pathogen that affects humans, livestock and wildlife, and has undergone numerous host-switching events during its evolutionary history leading to the emergence of new pandemic clones.
In collaboration with researchers from around the world, we will collect and sequence the whole genomes of hundreds of S. aureus isolates, and apply genome-wide association and evolutionary genomic analysis to understand the genetic basis for this pathogen’s host-tropism and epidemic clone emergence. This fascinating project will involve more colleagues at the University of Edinburgh but also at the University of Glasgow, who will apply different approaches to the same topic.
Despite the difficulties of starting a new job and having to learn new concepts and techniques, everyone at the lab and in the Institute in general has been tremendously welcoming and I feel very well taken care of. Hopefully the future will bring many successes!