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 Sarah Walsh

Sarah Walsh

PhD student

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


My PhD, supervised by Dr Ben Longdon and Professor Angus Buckling, focuses on exploring the evolutionary and molecular factors that underpin virus host range (the phylogenetic breadth of hosts a pathogen can infect) and virus host shifts (where a pathogen jumps from one host species to another). Using a panel of 64 different Staphylococcus strains spanning 18 species and a broad host range bacteriophage (ISP) currently used for the treatment of antibiotic resistant S. aureus, we aim to use experimental evolution to ask fundamental questions about what influences the ability of viruses to infect novel host species.

I previously completed several research projects as part of my undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham and my postgraduate studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. With the McNally lab (Birmingham) , I analysed clinical samples to determine the prevalence of Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) and determine whether lineages causing extra-intestinal infection were the same as those carried as commensal organisms. With the Shannon-Lowe lab (Birmingham), I investigated the role of cues in the stromal microenvironment in triggering Epstein-Barr virus latency and reactivation. Most recently, as part of the virology group at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Weybridge I contributed to a study investigating the fitness of genotypes of Influenza A that emerged following reassortment of H7N9 and H9N2, two low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses that are co-circulating in China. The preprint of this work can be found here (


PhD Biological Sciences, Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter (2019 onwards)

MSc Control of Infectious Disease, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2018-2019)

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, University of Birmingham (2015-2018)





Supervision / Group

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