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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Erin Attrill

Erin Attrill

MRC PhD Student

 Living Systems Institute S01.01


Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD


I am a final year PhD student with an interest in novel antimicrobial discovery and profiling with a focus on bacteriophages. My undergraduate degree in pharmacology piqued my interest in drug discovery before I went on to study a Masters focused on the possibilities of marine bioprospecting. My MSc thesis investigated utlilising the Danio rerio model to better understand the toxicity profile of the last line antibiotic colistin, leading me to pursue a PhD in antimicrobial discovery in a climate where antibiotic resistance severely threatens global health.

In my free time I am a keen Ballroom and Latin dancer!


2017 - 2021: Ph.D, University of Exeter (Defended March 2022)

2016 - 2017: MSc Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology, Heriot Watt University

2013 - 2016: BSc Hons Medical Pharmacology, Cardiff University

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Research interests

My research focuses on developing microfluidic platforms to discover and better understand novel antimicrobials. I am developing a device enabling growth of currently unculturable microorganisms by utilising the environment from which they came to investigate whether they are producing novel antibiotic compounds.

Additionally, I am using microfluidic devices in combination with time-lapse photography to better understand the infection kinetics of bacteriophages. As the need for novel antibiotics remains vital yet relatively unmet, the need for other possible, alternative antimicrobial therapeutics is paramount. Using these devices, I am able to study the interactions between bacteria and phages at single cell level to better profile their complex biology in the hope that they could become a front line therapy for infection.

Research projects

Project Title: Developing Microfluidic Platforms to fight Infectious Diseases and Biothreats (in collaboration with DSTL)

Supervisors: Stefano Pagliara (LSI Exeter), Rick Titball (Bioscience Exeter), Sarah Harding (DSTL, Porton Down), Helen Atkins (DSTL, Porton Down)

Funding Body: MRC and DSTL (CASE partner)

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