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Confessions of a Tree-hugger:

The evolving career of a Microbiologist

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As biology enters its second golden-era of genomics the ability to study pathogenic bacteria at a population level has never been greater.

  • From: Thursday 26 March 2015, 12 am
  • To: Thursday 26 March 2015, 12 am
  • Location: CELS001/002, CELS, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS
  • Booking deadline: Friday 20 March 2015, 12.00 am
  • Download this event to your calendar

Past event

Event details

In the golden-era of molecular biology the vast majority of microbiology research moved towards understanding the infinite complexities of each and every biological process that bacteria undertake to survive, flourish, and cause disease. As a result a vast amount of knowledge was gained on the biology of a small number of pet strains. During his PhD Alan McNally was fortunate to work in a lab that thought of pets as tamed wild animals, and that to truly understand an animal you have to study its population. This line of thinking dictated Alan’s research career as he sought to understand the population biology of several pathogens including E. coli O157, Yersinia pestis (the causative agent of the black death), and H5N1 avian influenza.

As biology enters its second golden-era of genomics, the ability to study pathogenic bacteria at a population level has never been greater. In this presentation Alan will highlight the large-scale population genomics research that his group is undertaking to understand how bacterial pathogens such as Yersinia pestis and multi-drug resistant E. coli have evolved and have emerged and spread to become serious threats to human health, and how all this information can be gleaned from nothing but genome sequences, and a few trees.


Event programme

6 pm Drinks and Canapés in CELS001/002
6.30 pm Lecture in CELS001/002
7.30 pm Buffet in CELS001/002
9 pm Close

Dr. Alan McNally - Biography

Alan did a BSc Hons in Molecular Microbiology at Glasgow University, including an industrial placement with SmithKline Beecham, where he developed a passion for microbiological research. He ventured across the wilds of the M8 to undertake a PhD in the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School at University of Edinburgh under the guidance of Prof David Gally, where he worked on population level differences in production of key virulence factors in E. coli O157.

After a brief seduction from the Dark Side (Microbial Biochemistry) at University of Bristol, Alan secured a post-doctoral position at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Surrey where he undertook two post-docs working on population phenotypes of Yersinia (with Prof Dianne Newell MBE), and then population genetics and phenotypes of H5N1 Avian Influenza (with Prof Ian Brown).

In 2006 he moved to NTU as a CELS lecturer and was appointed to a permanent senior lectureship in 2007. In that time he has secured several grants from EU FP7, TSB (funded by EPSRC/MRC) and NIHR to set up a vibrant research group working on population genomics of bacterial pathogens. He was awarded a Readership in Microbial Genomics in August 2014.

Booking information

If you would like to attend, please book your free place by clicking on the 'add to basket' tab at the top of this page and following the booking instructions.

If you have any queries please email us or call +44 (0)115 848 3540.

Location details


CELS001/002, CELS


Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane
NG11 8NS


The event will take place on our Clifton campus. There is ample free parking on site. For external visitors please enter the campus via the North Gate.

Past event

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