Investigating the link between genome reduction and pathogenicity using an emerging zoonotic pathogen

Year of award: 2015


  • Dr Lucy Weinert

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Lucy is an evolutionary biologist whose research aims to understand why and how bacteria become pathogens. One longstanding observation is that bacterial pathogens often have smaller genomes and fewer genes than their nearest non-pathogenic relatives. Using the bacterium Streptococcus suis as a model system, Lucy's laboratory will sample whole genomes of global populations, develop new statistical models and collate functional data in order to conduct the first large-scale tests of the various hypotheses linking genome reduction and pathogenicity. The long-term goals of this research are to forecast pathogen emergence, to develop preventative strategies, and to improve treatments.