Following a first class honours degree in marine biology from The University of Wales, Swansea I worked for The South Wales Sea Fisheries Committee as a Marine Biodiversity Officer. At the end of 2009 I moved to Brisbane to start my MPhil at UQ under the supervision of A/Prof Sandie Degnan, Prof Phil Hugenholtz and Prof Bernie Degnan.
- Research Interests
My research combines marine ecology, evolutionary development and metagenomics to investigate the role of microbial-sponge interactions. Relationships between sponges and bacteria have been postulated to be the oldest microbial-metazoan interactions and may provide fundamental insights into the coevolution of the biphasic lifecycle and the animal immune system. The basal position of sponges makes them ideal comparative organisms to provide insight into the origin and early evolution of animal immunity and by expounding poriferan immune responses when involved in different microbial interactions we can surmise the defence systems which may have been used in the last common ancestor of all living metazoans.