I am interested in complex bacterial populations and how they choose to interact. Many infections within the human body are host to highly diverse communities of microbes, all of which are capable of interacting and diversifying allowing them to persist in chronic infections. Examples of this are in the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) lung, where the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes chronic infection. Populations of P. aeruginosa isolated are incredibly diverse, both phenotypically and genotypically and I am interested in how this enables the pathogen to establish chronic infection. The concept of microbial social interactions both inter and intra-species and how this helps bacterial populations to thrive in vivo can be extended to many types of infection. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Whiteley lab, I hope to use in vitro and in vivo models to explore what are important social traits for bacteria normally found in the oral cavity and how these help the transition of such populations to establish infections in different sites of the body.
I graduated from Lancaster University, UK in 2008 with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical sciences. I then joined the MSc Medical Microbiology program at The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and graduated with distinction in 2009. In August 2013 I completed by PhD under the supervision of Dr Stephen Diggle at the University of Nottingham, where I studied social dynamics in clinical and laboratory strains of P. aeruginosa. I moved to Austin in February 2014 to join the Whiteley Lab as a postdoctoral fellow.
Publications Click here for list of publications from Sophie