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Tiffany B. Taylor

In 2008 I received a 1st class BSc (Hons) degree from the University of Edinburgh in Evolutionary Biology. In 2011 completed my DPhil (PhD) with Prof Angus Buckling at the University of Oxford in the Department of Zoology. My research focus was on understanding the evolutionary ecology of dispersal using an experimental approach with the microbial model system- Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In 2011 I moved to the University of Reading in the School of Biological Sciences to start a postdoc under the supervision of Dr Louise Johnson and Prof Rob Jackson, with co-supervision from Prof Mike Brockhurst (University of Sheffield) – my research focus was using experimental evolution to understand the evolution of the novel genetic code and the evolution of gene regulatory networks. In 2014 I spent a short time doing a university teaching fellowship, and took some time for maternity leave, before starting a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship at the University of Bath in the Milner Centre for Evolution in 2016.

Academic Biography

  • Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, University of Bath (2016 – Present)
  • University Teaching Fellow, University of Reading (2014 – 2016)
  • Postdoc, University of Reading (2011 – 2014)
  • DPhil, University of Oxford (2008 – 2011)
  • BSc (Hons), University of Edinburgh (2004 – 2008)

James Horton (Postdoc: Jul 2021-Jun 2024)

If we rewound the clock to the origin of life on our planet, would chance events (like genetic mutations) make life take a completely different path, or would natural selection ensure it would be the same? In my work I am investigating the repeatability of evolution, and more broadly on how this applies to the origins and development of gene regulatory networks. Like my supervisor, my other core passion is writing. I have written for The Conversation UK and am a frequent contributor to How It Works magazine. (@Jameshearsawho)

Previously a PhD student with the Taylor lab (Oct 2016 – Jun 2021)

Matthew Shepherd (PhD student: Oct 2018-Apr 2023)

My work is focused on the role of gene duplication and environmental change in the expansion and evolution of gene regulatory networks. Under what environmental conditions will duplicated genes diverge and specialise? Does a more complex GRN architecture aid survival under fluctuating selection? Outside of the lab I am also involved with several outreach and teaching events. I am keen to communicate my research and the importance of evolution to the public, and inspire people of all ages to get involved in STEM! (@MicrobialMatts)

Louise Flanagan (PhD student: Feb 2019-Feb 2023)

I will investigate how the environment shapes genome architecture and what evolutionary processes enable or limit the expansion of its GRNs. I will also look at how GRNs differ (in space and time) across populations of P. fluorescens placed in the same environment. My previous research involved working with yeasts, with a medical/industrial as well as an evolutionary focus. I received a BSc in Genetics from University College Dublin, and an MSc in Evolutionary and Population Biology from the University of Bath. (@Low_Wheeze)

Josie Elliott (BBSRC SWBio PhD candidate Oct 2020- Sep 2024)

My project investigates how bacteria evolve to control new genes that they acquire. Through experimental evolution studies I will explore how novel CRISPR-Cas systems are transcriptionally regulated following horizontal gene transfer. CRISPR-Cas is an amazing gene editing tool; however, we know little of the long-term genetic and transcriptomic stability of CRISPR-Cas systems in naive organisms. I received my integrated masters in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford in 2019 and I am passionate about the importance of scientific communication and outreach. (Project in collaboration with Prof Edze Westra, University of Exeter) (@Ellijos)

Aidan Pierce (Research Assistant Oct 2020 – Nov 2021)

RNA acts at the front line of an organism’s interaction with its environment and therefore represents a dynamic representation of the inert genotype. My research prior to this position has looked at molecular genetics and transcriptomic models of evolution, and within the Taylor Lab I will be providing help to several projects whilst researching gene regulatory network (GRN) evolution.

Shani Ali (Research Technician Jul 2021 – Jun 2024)

I provide support to all members of the Taylor lab, but my main focus is a project that aims to identify drivers of repeatable evolution. I received my masters in Microbiology and Infection from the University of Birmingham and a BSc in Biomedical Science from Coventry University. My previous job was as a science technician in an all girl’s secondary school, and I loved to encourage and inspire girls to think about science – but I’m happiest in the lab.


University of Bath: Dr Nick Priest, Prof Ed Feil, Prof Laurence Hurst, Prof Adele Murrell; University of Exeter: Prof Edze Westra, Prof Angus Buckling; University of Reading: Prof Robert Jackson, Dr Louise Johnson, Dr Jay Mulley, Dr Liam McGuffin; University of Sheffield: Prof Michael Brockhurst; UMass Dartmouth: Dr Mark Silby

“The Dream Team”: My lab group and some of the wonderful collaborators involved in the evolution of GRN rewiring route. Pictured: Dr Liam McGuffin, Dr Jay Mulley, Prof Robert Jackson, Dr Nick Priest, James Horton, Matt Shepherd, Dr Louise Johnson, Dr Tiffany Taylor, Louise Flanagan


Undergraduates: Harriet Green (Jan 2020); Ellie Self (May 2020); Willliam Tuffley (Jan 2021); Elsie Luke (Jan 2021);

Masters: Megan Keepence (Sept 2017)


I am always happy to hear from prospective students and postdocs interested in my ongoing projects to discuss funding opportunities.