- Role: PhD StudentGroup: Microbiota and Systems Biology
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Why did you choose Hudson Institute and your research group?
I originally started at Hudson Institute as a UROP student in 2019. I came from a maths and physics background, so it was exciting to get the opportunity to not only learn about the gut microbiome, but also about how biological research was conducted and in particular how computational methods can be really useful in biological research. Having gotten to know everyone in the lab throughout my year and a half placement as an undergraduate student, I was confident that Sam’s lab would be a great place to undertake a PhD, where I would not only be excited about the research project but also feel greatly supported by a friendly and experienced group.
What is your research about and what do you hope to achieve?
My research project is aiming to develop new software tools and statistical analysis pipelines for analysing microbiome data, specifically the microbiome within the human gut. Bioinformatics techniques are crucial to analysing microbiome data, because we rely on these tools to tell us which microbes are present in a community based on the DNA that was extracted and sequenced in the lab. The problem we’re tackling is that for a vast majority of the bacteria and other micro-organisms within the gut microbiome, we don’t have a very detailed understanding of how they survive and behave. Through my PhD, we’re hoping to build tools that identify the genetic differences between different groups of bacteria, but also use this information to better inform our understanding of how these micro-organisms function.
What is it like being a student at Hudson Institute?
Hudson Institute is a great place to be a research student. The Hudson Institute Student Society hosts a variety of events that are a great opportunity to meet other students within the institute as well as learn about many different research areas. The Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases provides students with the opportunity to learn from professional research scientists and engage with them about their research, while also being full of friendly and enthusiastic students and staff that make for a great environment to be in.
Solari, SM, Young, RB, Marcelino, VR, Forster SC. expam—high-resolution analysis of metagenomes using distance trees, Bioinformatics 38(20), 4814 – 4816 (2022), https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btac591