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Research Fellows Directory

Kayla King

Dr Kayla King

Research Fellow


University of Liverpool

Research summary

Gut microbial communities, even in humans, can be very complex and comprised of pathogen and probiotic species. Some share an evolutionary history with their host, while some can be new and cause nasty infections. My research explores how the interplay between virulent and less harmful bacteria in the intestine shapes the pattern and tempo of host and microbe evolution. By applying an experimental evolution approach to a lab-based system - Caenorhabditis elegans worms and Enterococcus faecalis/Staphylococcus aureus bacteria - I have shown that bacteria can evolve to become deadlier or protective in these gut communities. The research has theoretical and practical applications. Firstly, this work shines a light on the evolutionary implications of polymicrobial infections, particularly in the intestine where 'good' and 'bad' bacteria collide. Secondly, given that C. elegans is an established model for microbial infection research and E. faecalis and S. aureus are human microbes, this work nicely links evolutionary biology with human disease.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Coevolution and co-infection: an experimental evolution approach

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Jan 2012 - Sep 2013

Value: £104,000