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Dr. Philipp Schwabl

EX-PhD Student, Molecular Genetics (2016 - 2020) 

Philipp is interested in novel bioinformatic and spatial modelling approaches to infer complex biogeographic processes at various spatio-temporal scales. In his current PhD work, Philipp is combining high-resolution environmental survey (remote sensing) with genomic analysis to elucidate patterns of gene flow and microevolution in various pathogenic organisms. Current projects include:

  • Landscape genomics to predict the spread of Trypanosoma cruzi  in Ecuador.

  • Population genomics to elucidate mechanisms of genetic exchange in T. cruzi.

  • Phylodynamic modelling to reconstruct demographic history and detect evolutionary selection in Leishmania infantum in Brazil.

  • Ribosomal metabarcoding to survey trypanosomatid diversity among synanthropic bats in Brazil.

  • Cytochrome B metabarcoding to expose feeding patterns of Chagas disease vectors in Venezuela.

  • Genome-wide ‘amplicon-tiling’ to profile pathogen genomes from metagenomic DNA.

Philipp also has extensive experience in field-based avian eco-physiological research. Philipp completed his MSc thesis on endocrine function and malaria infection in rainforest birds of Ecuador and his BSc thesis on fairy-wren physiology in fire-prone savannas of Australia after 8 years of research on avian reproductive strategies in Venezuela.

Dr. Luis (Enrique) Hernandez

EX-PhD Student, Molecular Epidemiology (2016 - 2020)

Enrique is funded by the Mexican Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT). His research focuses on understanding the population structure of the main Chagas disease vector, Rhodnius ecuadoriensis, in Ecuador and Northern Peru. Enrique's Masters research project “predicting the impact of vaccination against Canine Distemper Virus in a population of Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) in the Russian Far East” motivated him to continue with the use of mathematical modelling as a tool to understand and control disease transmission. For his PhD project based in Loja, Ecuador, he hopes to obtain high-resolution genomic information to develop a mathematical model to understand the population dispersal of R. ecuadoriensis  and its impact on Chagas disease transmission in Southern Ecuador.


Elle Lindsay

Ex - PhD Student, (2016 - 20)

Elle is interested in physiology, welfare and behaviour. Currently her PhD focuses on the gut microbiota of Atlantic salmon and its link with host metabolism, physiology and behaviour via microbiological methods. By amplifying bacterial 16S rRNA, Elle aims to explore the Atlantic salmon gut microbiota in the hope of improving aquaculture sustainability. She is interested in links between the gut microbiota and host behaviour and the mechanisms behind this. When not looking at fish guts, Elle enjoys reading, writing and is trying to learn Italian!

Raminta Kazlauskaite

Ex-PhD Student, Molecular Biology  (2017 - 2021)

Raminta is interested in bioengineering and molecular biology. Currently her PhD focuses on creating an in vitro system replicating the Atlantic Salmon gut, called SalmoSim, made from three linked bioreactors simulating three distinct compartments of the salmon gut. The system will allow her to study microbial population dynamics, evaluate the performance of different feed formulations and additives, as well as to evaluate the effects of antibiotic/disinfectant/antiparasitic treatments on microbial gut population composition. 

Apart from Biology, Raminta has a passion for basketball, which is very popular in her home country of Lithuania. Though she loves to travel, she always returns home to look after her two gorgeous Sphynx cats!


Chloe Heys

Postdoc Researcher, (2018 - 2020)

Chloe's research profile is centred around understanding host-microbiome interactions within arthropod and salmonid systems. She completed her PhD in 2018 at the University of Liverpool, where she examined the relationship between gut microbiota and host behaviour in various species of Drosophila with highly varied ecologies and mating systems

Chloe's current work aims to elucidate the role of the microbiome of both farmed and wild populations of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) on various aspects of host performance, including metabolism, physiology, health and behaviour. Using a combination of microbiological and molecular techniques as well as behavioural assays and biochemical analysis, Chloe hopes to understand these links in greater detail.

Never a dull moment, when not having to look after the entire lab group, Chloe is responsible for a parrot and chickens at home!

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Michele De Noia

PhD Student, (2017 - 2021)

The overall purpose of Michele’s PhD is to understand phenotypic, genetic and ecosystem responses to environmental change, parasite exposure and pathobiome in the two European eel ectomorphs.

His main objectives are:

1) Linking fish ecology (diet, microbiome and pathobiology) to energetic profile (metabolism, fat composition, immunity) across the two ecotypes

2) Development of a non-invasive rapid test to detect the presence/absence and load of the Anguillicola crassus – a parasitic nematode worm of the eels


When not working away in the lab, he can be found beating his opponents in a volleyball match or making Tiramisu as a post-workout treat!


Felix Warren

PhD Student, (2018 - 22)

Felix is interested in the strategies of kinetoplastid parasites for host immune evasion. He aims to link the surface proteome variation resulting from immune pressures with genomic and transcriptomic variation. His previous research experiences have included a Work Placement MSci exploring synergistic drug combinations in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, as well as an Honours project helping to identify a highly programmable and non-invasive biomaterial to aid wound healing in epidermal stem cells.

In his spare time, Felix enjoys metal engraving and playing Dungeons & Dragons; though, that is of course when he is not tending to his marvellous beard. Formerly a cheesemonger for 10 years, he still enjoys an occasional cheeseboard…

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Toni Dwyer

PhD Student, (2018 - 23)

Toni is interested in disease, welfare, aquaculture and sustainability. Her PhD focuses on the use of Environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor plankton-borne diseases in salmonid aquaculture.

Toni aims to design a low-cost early warning system sampling technique to detect eDNA shed by sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis), as well as the aetiological agent of Amoebic Gill Disease (Paramoeba perurans). She hopes to improve survivability by early detection of pathogens, thus increasing production and sustainability of farmed salmon.


Bachar "Bach" Cheaib

Postdoc Researcher, (October 2018 - 22)

Bach is a bioinformatician post-doc, specialising in analysing microbial genomics and metagenomics data produced from NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) technologies. By focusing on compartmentalisation of the Salmo salar microbiome and Salmon diseases, Bach has two projects, the first is focusing on the functional units driving host-microbiome co-evolution in Atlantic salmon (see SalmoSim), and in the second he is deciphering the functional basis of Perkinsela-Neoparamoeba endosymbiois  (see AGD and Endosymbiosis project)


He uses state of the art bioinformatic methods and develops computational pipeline solutions and biostatistical workflows to aid his lab mates with their data. 


Bach is interested not only in answering fundamental questions in microbial ecology and evolution, but also in the application of these evolutionary concepts on host associated microbial systems, in order to understand the microbes' adaptive resilience under anthropic pressures.

Patrick Schaal

PhD Student, (2017 - 23)

Patrick has always been fascinated by nature, particularly aquatic environments. He was amazed by microorganisms: how such little, relatively simple things can have a big impact on their environment. Luckily, he got the opportunity to combine his main research interests into one PhD as he focuses on the impact of the Atlantic salmon gut microbiota.

As a registered student of University College Cork he spends a lot of time at the Marine Institute in Newport under the supervision of Dr Phil McGinnity. There he has access to farmed, wild and hybrid salmon, allowing him to disentangle genetic and environmental effects on host microbiomes and also to monitor bacterial impacts on phenotypic traits (e.g. metabolism, immune response).

Should Patrick be missing from Glasgow, he is either in Ireland (working of course), on the nearest Tennis court or taking a shot at some waves on a beach (though some say he spends more time trying not to drown than actually surfing). Meanwhile, he is still trying to convince Glasgow’s Lidl managers to import his homeland's "Maultaschen" to Scotland: no success… Yet!

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Yin Xun (Zach) Tan

Visiting Master Student (March - August 2020)

Zach is a student of the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME), visiting from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. In his previous research internship, Zach has explored the composition of microbiomes in mammals, and compared the microbiome dissimilarities to phylogenetic distances between mammalian species (phylosymbiosis). During his final semester in Llewellyn's lab, Zach aims to assess the gene expression of sea lice in different life stages, and its implications on the health of salmon which these lice parasitise. 

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