Dr Sarah Knowles

Research Interests

It is now clear that most animals carry a dense and diverse community of symbiotic microbes – their microbiome - which can be critical for host biology. Nowhere are these communities more dense than in mammals, and the human microbiome has received intense focus in recent years. However, the microbiome of wild animals remains largely unexplored, leaving open many questions about whether findings from studies in humans and laboratory animals are relevant in more natural settings. 

My research focusses on the mammalian microbiome in the wild. Using wild mice and other rodents as model systems, my group studies both what shapes the microbiome in natural settings but also how it impacts the host. We do this by combining field studies, experiments, computational and comparative approaches.

If you are interested in joining the lab as a research fellow or graduate student, please do  get in touch, including a brief description of your research interests and CV. 

  • Species identity dominates over environment in shaping the microbiota of small mammals

  • Parasite-microbiota interactions with the vertebrate gut: synthesis through an ecological lens

  • The evolution of ecological facilitation within mixed-species biofilms in the mouse gastrointestinal tract

  • One health - an ecological and evolutionary framework for tackling Neglected Zoonotic Diseases

  • The impact of an 8-year mass drug administration programme on prevalence, intensity and co-infections of soil-transmitted helminthiases in Burundi

  • Epidemiological Interactions between Urogenital and Intestinal Human Schistosomiasis in the Context of Praziquantel Treatment across Three West African Countries

  • Marked seasonal variation in the wild mouse gut microbiota.

  • The reliability of observational approaches for detecting interspecific parasite interactions: comparison with experimental results.

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