Alexander Esin

PhD student

a.esin14 [at]

By day a student of bacterial horizontal gene transfer, by night a scholar of deer haemoglobin. I’m a PhD student trying to make sense of gene family evolution, whether in the narrow field of prokaryotes, or the broad range of deer. In my spare time I peruse ancient history, read about clippers, and learn dead languages (including, but not limited to, TCL).

Antoine Hocher


a.hocher [at]

Starting my adventure in pursuing chromatin’s mysteries, a long time interest of mine. First, though, I will study the rather mysterious chromosomes of thermophilic archaea. Outside of the lab you can probably find me in a record shop.

Vassili Kusmartsev

PhD student

v.kusmartsev16 [at]

A new location and new research! I have broad interests, and am excited to be investigating the effect and mechanisms of selective pressures on genomes. Outside the office I enjoy tennis, music, and drinks (responsibly). A relevant quote from Samuel Beckett: "Ever tried, ever failed, no matter; try again, fail again, fail better."

Maria Rojec

PhD student

m.rojec14 [at]

I have recently moved to London from Venice (Italy), taking a considerable detour through California where I've worked in research for 2 years, before starting my PhD. I'm always available to chat about good music (oldies mostly), movies (ALL genres) and to help out whenever I can.

Shivani Singh


s.singh [at]

Jacob Swadling


jacob.swadling [at]

My Ph.D. was on the topic of Origins of Life Chemistry. Following this, I spent time calculating drug binding affinities at UCL then moved to Tokyo for three years where I simulated protein-nucleic acid complexes and ate a lot of ramen. Now I’m back in the UK where I am using forcefield techniques to predict epistasis in proteins, and when I have time, trying to beat Strava segments on my bike.

Valerie W.C. Soo


v.soo [at]

I have broad interests in all things related to E. coli (thanks, Ecocyc!), particularly on understanding how different molecules evolve and/or interact to affect its phenotypes. My other less ambitious hobbies include reading, running, traveling, and photography.

Tobias Warnecke

Group Leader

tobias.warnecke [at]

My main role in the lab is not to get in the way too much, provide free coffee and, very occasionally, useful feedback. My current obsessions include chromatin, archaea, chaperones and octopodes, not necessarily in combination.