Bacteriophages (phages) outnumber bacteria in the environment. This selective pressure has driven bacteria to develop many anti-viral strategies and phages to evolve counter-measures. In recent years ~100 new antiphage systems have been discovered in bacterial genomes. Understanding this arms race is revealing exciting new areas of biology, and unexpected links between phage defence and the innate immune systems of animals and plants.
My research uses comparative genomics, genetics, biochemistry, single-cell microscopy and structural biology to discover new loci involved in phage defence and define the mechanistic details of their defence pathways, including understanding how interaction with phages triggers these systems and the downstream responses that lead to immunity. I am particularly focused on antiphage systems found in Serratia marcescens (and other spp.), Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus spp.