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Zoë Willis

Current research

I am in the final year of my research PhD and I am investigating ‘Dichelobacter nodosus metapopulations and epidemiology of footrot in an endemically infected flock’. The aims for this project are to analyse in detail samples taken from one farm over 10 months and identify the presence of potential virulence factors of D. nodosus and get a representation of the D. nodosus strain community to see how both of these link with footrot at different stages of disease progression. I am funded by BBSRC, the Knowledge Transfer Network and AHDB.

Academic achievements

I achieved a first class honours degree in Equine Science from Warwickshire College in 2015. During my degree I developed a keen interest in microbiology, parasitology, pathogenicity, pharmacology and immunology. In order to explore this further and gain more experience in a laboratory environment, I completed a placement year at the University of Warwick with Professor Laura Green’s research group. I spent the majority of the year involved with a research project investigating the bacterial community in the mammary glands of ewes and how it relates to the bacterial infection, mastitis. During which I was also awarded BBSRC Research Experience Placement funding and co-authored a journal paper regarding this topic. During this year I gained invaluable laboratory and writing skills as well as the inspiration to continue in academia and complete a PhD.

Other interests

As well as my scientific interests I have an artistic and creative side and enjoy photography, designing and art. This has meant I have developed a keen eye for detail which has helped with my academic work and which I hope to make good use of during my PhD. I have also been a keen rider my whole life and have focused on dressage for the last 10 years. This has helped me develop patience and perseverance as well as being enjoyable.


Smith, E. M., Willis, Z. N., Blakeley, M., Lovatt, F., Purdy, K. J. & Green, L. E. Bacterial species and their associations with acute and chronic mastitis in suckler ewes. Journal of Dairy Science, 98 (10), 7025-7033.

ZW Profile

Zoë Willis
Postgraduate Research Student
School of Life Sciences
University of Warwick

ZW Graduation