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David Phillips fellows

Interested in becoming a fellow? Go to the David Phillips Fellowships page (in Funding section).

For details of all current David Phillips fellows, please use the links below.

2019 cohort
2018 cohort
2017 cohort
2016 cohort
2015 cohort
2014 cohort
2013 cohort
2012 cohort


2019 cohort

Dr Diarmuid Seosamh Ó'Maoiléidigh, University of Liverpool

Evolution, development, and mechanisms of floral organ photosynthesis

Diarmuid is a plant developmental biologist with interests in photosynthesis, functional genomics, and flower development. Currently, he is interested in understanding how non-leaf organs become established photosynthetic organs. Energy derived from the photosynthesis of floral organs is instrumental during fruit and seed development. However, our understanding of how these organs become photosynthetically active is vastly incomplete. To understand this process more clearly, a combination of comparative development, physiology, functional genomics, and gene-editing will be used. Diarmuid’s team will unravel the transcriptional mechanisms controlling photosynthesis in the fruits of model organisms, which may be conserved in crop plants such as oilseed rape. Using the knowledge created through these approaches, a better our understanding of flower development, floral evolution, and photosynthesis will be generated. In addition, novel strategies to improve crop performance will be formulated.


Dr Christopher Proctor, University of Cambridge

The microfluidic ion pump: a new tool for understanding the brain

Christopher is a bioengineer in the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge. The aim of his BBSRC fellowship is to develop tools to help understand the brain. Our ability to understand our most complex organ is currently constrained by the absence of minimally invasive tools for controlled chemical delivery in the brain. Christopher proposes a new solution to this problem: a tiny implant with neuron-like features that neuroscientists can use to safely deliver a wide range of chemicals in the brain with precise control of when, where, and how much chemical is delivered. The realization of this tool will enable new discoveries concerning how the brain works and what we can be done when it goes wrong. As chemical signalling is fundamental to all living systems from animals to plants to bacteria, these same research tools may eventually be adapted to other systems to enable fundamental discoveries impacting all manners of life from agriculture to healthcare.


Dr Elizabeth Williams, University of Exeter

Unravelling the neuroendocrine signalling pathways guiding the developmental transition of marine invertebrate larval settlement

After spending some time in the plankton, the larvae of many marine invertebrates have to settle down to the ocean floor and find an ideal location to undergo metamorphosis into their adult form. This process is guided by a combination of external cues from the environment and internal neuroendocrine signalling. Elizabeth’s research aims to establish the network of molecular and cellular signalling that takes place when larvae are induced to settle by specific environmental cues. Using molecular biology, genetics and neuronal activity imaging, Elizabeth will explore the conservation of neuroendocrine signalling pathways deployed at larval settlement in different invertebrates, such as worms, shellfish and crustaceans. This research will provide insights into improving marine invertebrate aquaculture productivity, developing novel antifouling strategies, and the protection and restoration of key marine habitats.


2018 cohort

Dr Ryan MacDonald, University College London

Support for synapses: the role of cell adhesion molecules in glial morphogenesis


Dr Patrick Moynihan, University of Birmingham

Peptidoglycan release and recycling in pathogenic mycobacteria

Dr Vivek Nityananda, Newcastle University

Attention-like processes in insects: applications to pollinator biology and health

Dr Sharon Zytynska, University of Liverpool

Unravelling beneficial multi-species interactions in a cereal crop system


2017 cohort

Dr Matthew Apps, University of Oxford

A Biological Framework of Reduced Physical and Social Activity across the Lifespan

Dr Marco Di Antonio, Imperial College London

Disrupting DNA G-quadruplex secondary structures to revert premature ageing

Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, University of Cambridge

The regulation of plant-nematode parasitism

Dr Teresa Thurston, Imperial College London

Analysing antibacterial immunity from two sides: host versus pathogen

Dr Jenny Zhang, University of Cambridge

3D-Printed Platforms to Study and Utilise the Photoelectrochemistry of Photosynthetic Biofilms


2016 cohort

Dr Myriam Charpentier, John Innes Centre

Nuclear calcium regulation of plant development

Dr Alex Hayward, University of Exeter

Architects of genomic change: the evolutionary dynamics of transposable elements

Dr Glyn Hemsworth, University of Leeds

Discovery and Exploitation of Novel Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenase Redox Partners

Dr Aarti Jagannath, University of Oxford

Talking to the Clock: Understanding How The Molecular Circadian Clock Is Regulated By The Cellular Environment

Dr Johnathan Labbadia, University College London

Investigating the relationship between mitochondrial activity, programmed repression of the heat shock response, protein homeostasis and ageing

Dr Paula MacGregor, University of Cambridge

The molecular basis and evolution of host-parasite interactions in African trypanosomes

Dr Rogier Mars, University of Oxford

The comparative connectome

Dr Christine Schmidt, The University of Manchester

Ubiquitylation within and beyond the DNA damage response


2015 cohort

Dr Jessica Blair, University of Birmingham

Targeting periplasmic adaptor proteins to improve antibiotic efficacy

Dr Anthony Green, The University of Manchester

Designer enzymes with organocatalytic functionality

Dr Joanne Konkel, The University of Manchester

Oral barrier immuno-surviellance; alterations across the life-course

Dr Marc van der Kamp, University of Bristol

Multi-scale enzyme modelling for SynBio: optimizing biocatalysts for selective synthesis of bioactive compounds

Dr Katie Field (Translational Fellow), University of Leeds

Interactions between crops, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and atmospheric CO2


2014 cohort

Dr Franciska de Vries, The University of Manchester

The root to stability – the role of plant roots in ecosystem response to climate change

Dr Joe Swift, The University of Manchester

Response to mechanical stress in ageing tissue


2013 cohort

Dr Stuart Wigby, University of Oxford

Male ageing and the ejaculate: composition, competition and conflict


2012 cohort

Dr Claire Spottiswoode, University of Cambridge

Species interactions and the evolution of biological diversity: visual signalling in antagonistic and mutualistic coevolution