Department of Biology & Biochemistry


Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow

3 South 1.01



Dr Tiffany Taylor


My work broadly focuses on using experimental evolution to understand fundamental questions concerning ecological and evolutionary processes. Specifically, I use microbial experimental evolution in combination with molecular and bioinformatic techniques to determine the evolutionary drivers of gene regulatory networks (GRNs). In addition, I use experimental evolution with cancer cell populations to understand how we might quantify the role of evolution by natural selection of clinically important cancerous traits.

Gene Regulatory Network Evolution

Using a combination of molecular genetic manipulations/analyses and experimental evolution, within the context of GRNs, I explore two central questions:

  1. How does novelty arise in evolution?
  2. Does environmental change drive genome complexity, and if so how?

Under specific ecological selection we can observe rapid and repeatable evolutionary re-wiring between different genetic networks. This confers robustness to networks and presents the opportunity for genetic innovation to evolve. Changeable environments have been identified as a likely driver to facilitate the evolution and expansion of GRNs. My research identifies genetic and environmental drivers of novel gene regulator recruitment within networks, and aims to understand whether more complex GRNs promote survival and create opportunities for innovation in changeable environments.

Experimental Evolution of Cancers

Evolutionary processes play a central role in the development, progression and response to treatment of cancers. The current challenge facing researchers is to harness evolutionary theory to further our understanding of the clinical progression of cancers. Central to this endeavour will be the development of experimental systems and approaches by which theories of cancer evolution can be effectively tested. My research aims to adapt experimental evolutionary techniques to address fundamental evolutionary processes in cancers and provide quantitative data that will enable the evolutionary dynamics of cancers to be reliably estimated.

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)


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