Department of Genetics and Genome Biology
University of Leicester
BSc, PhD I grew up in rural villages of Surrey and South Yorkshire. In 1997, I joined a team at the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, Oxford, dedicated to investigating the mechanisms responsible for surface variability in two bacterial pathogens responsible for meningitis.
The generation of genetic diversity is a central facet of evolution by natural selection. Pathogenic and commensal bacteria provide a rich model for studying the importance of genetic diversity and it’s rate of generation. These organisms are subject to stringent and adaptable responses from their hosts as well as competition from other microbes and attack by bacteriophages. Most bacterial species adapt to, or survive, these challenges through genetic variants and as a result multiple mechanisms have evolved in these organisms to generate genetic diversity. Characterisation of these mechanisms is critical for understanding bacterial pathogenesis and the evolution/spread of novel phenotypes such as antibiotic resistance but also reveals elemental aspects of the processes of natural selection. Tandem DNA repeat tracts (microsatellites) are hypermutable and enable the rapid generation of genetic variants. My research is focused on understanding the mechanistic basis for and consequences of mutations in tandem DNA repeat tracts.
Aidley J, Rajopadhye S, Akinyemi NM, Lango-Scholey L, Bayliss CD. (2017). Nonselective Bottlenecks Control the Divergence and Diversification of Phase-Variable Bacterial Populations. MBio. 8. pii: e02311-16.