Gemma is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, and holds the Wheldale Onslow Junior Research Fellowship in Evolutionary Biology at Newnham College.
Gemma studied Physics as an undergraduate at the University of St Andrews, and Philosophy as a postgraduate at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Cambridge. She began her study of evolutionary biology at the University of Edinburgh, where she completed a master’s degree in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis, and worked as a Research Assistant for a project on infectious disease in East African cattle.
Gemma undertook her PhD in the Department of Genetics in Cambridge, where she developed methods of analysing bacterial genome sequences to understand how pathogens evolve and respond to selective pressures. Following this, she spent two years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she studied the genomes of extinct and endangered animals through analysis of ancient DNA.
Gemma is an evolutionary biologist, whose research has involved investigating genome evolution across a variety of taxa. She is interested in the influence of natural selection on the evolution of populations,
especially in relation to the evolution of bacterial pathogens.
Gemma is currently investigating why bacteria that cause disease often have smaller genomes and fewer genes than their closest non-pathogenic relatives. She is studying this link in Streptococcus suis, which is an important pathogen of pigs that is also capable of transmission into humans.