Xena Dyball


Postgraduate Student

Gut viruses & viromics

I am a NRPDTP PhD student in the Adriaenssens group investigating the roles of bacteriophage infection and prophage carriage in bacterial adaptation to the human gut.

Prior to my PhD I received my integrated masters (MBio) degree from the University of Warwick where I studied biomedical sciences. In the final year of my degree I undertook an industrial placement at Public Health England Porton Down (now UKHSA) where I completed a research project characterising bacteriophage susceptibility using a novel antimicrobial susceptibility testing platform. During this project I worked with lytic phages infecting Acinetobacter baumannii to assess whether the platform could detect phage infection and evaluate how the platform’s results compared to classical phage susceptibility testing methods currently used.

Following my degree I stayed at UKHSA working as a research scientist where I continued the work from my masters, in addition to working on various projects related to antimicrobial resistance interventions, such as novel anti-fungal compounds and phage-antibiotic synergy.

I joined the Adriaenssens group at the Quadram Institute in October 2022 to start my PhD which is focused on the enigmatic gut commensal Ruminococcus gnavus and the prophages found within its genome. My project aims to elucidate the roles these phages play in aiding the adaptation of R. gnavus to the human gut environment, in addition to advancing our understanding of the interactions occurring between phage-bacteria-human within the microbiome.