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Tim did his undergraduate degrees and PhD at Cambridge University, supervised by Prof George Salmond, winning the Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Award in 2009 (Microbiology Society) and the Nat L. Sternberg Thesis Prize in 2011 (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Phage Meeting). He then obtained an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship to join Prof James Berger's lab at the University of California-Berkeley before moving across to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Arriving at Durham University in 2015, Tim won a Springboard Award in 2017 (Academy of Medical Sciences) and a Lister Institute Prize Fellowship in 2019 (Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine). He was made an Associate Professor in 2019, and a Full Professor in 2022.



Post-doctoral Research Assistant

Abbie finished her PhD at Newcastle University in January 2020. During her PhD, Abbie used a combination of microbiology and biochemistry to characterise various proteins involved in peptidoglycan remodelling during C. difficile sporulation. Now at Durham, Abbie is investigating the BREX system of bacteriophage-resistance (apocalypse permitting).



Visiting Fellow

Liam is a computational biologist and is currently a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow also affiliated with the University of Oxford. His research uses genomic data to explore the evolution of mobile genetic elements, with application to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes. In particular, he is interested in the changes that elements undergo over time as they spread between different bacteria and their interplay with bacterial defence systems.



PhD Student

Izaak is a PhD student funded by the BBSRC Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham Doctoral Training Partnership having previously completed his postgraduate MSc by Research in the Blower lab in 2018. Co-supervised by Dr Jon Marles-Wight in Newcastle, Izaak’s PhD project focusses on the structural biology and biochemistry of the interactions between toxin-antitoxin systems and their targets. Izaak is using X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM (fingers crossed), and a range of biochemical and biophysical techniques to better understand how these proteinaceous toxins function.

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PhD Student

Sam is a MoSMed funded PhD student. He graduated in Biotechnology at Northumbria University and then completed an MSc in Industrial and Commercial Biotechnology at Newcastle University, where he was part of the 2018 Newcastle team which took part in the international IGEM competition in Boston, USA. He then took up a research position in industry at CPI working on cell-free expression systems before joining the Blower lab to study the BREX bacteriophage-resistance system. Having come from industry, Sam is currently getting used to not being able to spend loads of money on whatever equipment he needs.



PhD Student

Tom is also a PhD student funded by MoSMed. He graduated in Pharmacology at Newcastle University where he continued his studies as a postgraduate, completing an MSc in Drug Chemistry in 2021. Working in collaboration with co-supervisors Dr Agnieszka Bronowska and Dr Danny Cole in Newcastle, Tom’s PhD project focuses on further exploration of the Toxin-Antitoxin systems present in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, with the aim of characterising potential antibiotic targets for the development of novel small molecule inhibitors. Tom’s interests include Formula 1, playing guitar (badly), fishing, and more Formula 1. 

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PhD Student

Jenny is a first-year PhD student funded by the BBSRC Newcastle-Liverpool-Durham Doctoral Training Partnership. Jenny graduated from Durham University in 2021 with an MBiol in Bioscience, then worked for a year as an intermediate technician developing spider venom toxin-based biopesticides. Working in collaboration with New England Biolabs, Jenny's project aims to characterise the highly promiscuous type IV restriction enzyme involved in bacterial phage defence, BrxU. Jenny will also explore the biotechnological potential of BrxU, with a focus on mapping epigenetic modifications during disease development.



MSc by Research Student

Sam is an MSc by Research postgrad student, who joined the Lab after graduating with a BSc from Durham University in 2021. Having completed a microbiology workshop run by Dr. Blower in his third year of undergraduate study, looking at bacteria-bacteriophage interactions, Sam is continuing work on BREX systems, by investigating the role of BrxR in bacterial defence against viral infection.


Léo Debaene (2022-) Hinton Lab, Liverpool University

Andrew Higginson (2022-) Palmer Lab, Newcastle University

Rachel Ridgway (2022-) Evans Lab, Liverpool University

Tanya Horne (2020-) Hall Lab, Liverpool University



Sophia Valabhji - BSc student (2022-23)

Megan Guest - BSc student (2022-23)

Ethan Slevin - BSc student (2022-23)

Becky Bennett - Co-supervised PhD student (2018-22, Baker Lab, Liverpool University)

Elise Ling - Co-supervised PhD student (2018-22, Austin Lab, Newcastle University)

David Picton - PhD student and PDRA (2016-22)

Julia Gordeeva - Visiting PhD student (2022)

Alena Drobiazko - Visiting PhD student (2022)

András Dervenkár - NatSci student (2021-22)

Ben Usher - PhD student (2017-21)

Ben Baker - NatSci student (2020-21)

Daniel Sin - BSc student (2020-21)

Anna Bailey - MBiol student (2019-20)

Shannon Richardson - NatSci student (2019-20)

Alex Cook - NatSci Student (2019-20)

Arran Hinch-Sisley - BSc student (2019-20)

Soufiane Taleb - MBiol student (2018-19)

Jonny Burnett - NatSci student (2018-19)

Katie Lister - BSc student (2018-19)

Josh Harling-Lee - MBiol student (2017-18)

Alex Kingdon - NatSci student (2017-18)

Charlotte Alton - BSc student (2017-18)

Ryan Herdman-Grant - BSc student (2017-18)

Lucy Henderson - Summer student (2017-18)

Julia Carleton - Summer student (2017)

Jacob Dykes - MBiol student (2016-17)

Sophie Forster - BSc student (2016-17)

George Aldridge - BSc student (2016-17)

Giorgio Bowler - BSc student (2015-16)

Alumni Photos

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