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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Professor Ivana Gudelj

Professor Ivana Gudelj

Professor of Evolutionary Systems Biology


 +44 (0)1392 725840

 Living Systems Institute T04.10


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



1998 – 2002 PhD in Applied Mathematics, University of Bath
1994 – 1998 BSc in Mathematical Sciences, University of Bath


2015 – present Professor of Evolutionary Systems Biology, Biosciences, University of Exeter
2012 – 2015 Associate Professor of Evolutionary Systems Biology, Biosciences, University of Exeter
2011 – present NERC Advanced Fellow/ Associate Professor in Systems Biology, Biosciences, University of Exeter
2008 – 2010 NERC Advanced Fellow/ Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London
2007 - 2008 NERC Advanced Fellow, Department of Mathematics, University of Bath
2006 – 2007 NERC EMS Fellow, Department of Mathematics, University of Bath
2004 – 2006 NERC EMS Fellow, NERC Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London 
2001 – 2004 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Rothamsted Research


Research group links

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Research interests

My group utilizes mathematical and experimental approaches to understand competition, cooperation and coevolution amongst microorganisms. We are a truly interdisciplinary team where mathematicians, physicists, bioinformaticians, molecular biologists and experimental evolutionary ecologists work alongside each other and share skills. By developing approaches that bring together systems biology into a population level framework we strive to quantify how microbial community composition is determined by the metabolism, genetics and physiology of individual players. This is important for solving fundamental problems in evolutionary biology including the evolution of diversity, virulence and antimicrobial resistance.

Research projects

  • Microbial cooperation and disease virulence
  • Resistance in mixed species communities
  • The evolution of specialism and generalism
  • Eco-evolutionary models to combat resistance in cancers


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Journal articles

Beardmore R, Gudelj I, Hewlett M, Pena-Miller R, Meyer J (In Press). Canonical host-pathogen tradeoffs subverted by mutations with dual benefits. The American Naturalist Abstract.
Beardmore R, Gudelj I, Reding C, Wood E, Bergmiller T, Schulenberg H, Philip R, Catalan P (In Press). The Antibiotic Dosage of Fastest Resistance Evolution: gene amplifications underpinning the inverted-U. Molecular Biology and Evolution
Butt L, Meyer JR, Lindsay RJ, Beardmore RE, Gudelj I (2024). Bacterial resistance response and resource availability mediate viral coexistence. J Evol Biol, 37(4), 371-382. Abstract.  Author URL.
Ames R, Brown AJP, Gudelj I, Nev OA (2023). Analysis of Pneumocystis Transcription Factor Evolution and Implications for Biology and Lifestyle. mBio, 14(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Lindsay RJ, Holder PJ, Talbot NJ, Gudelj I (2023). Metabolic efficiency reshapes the seminal relationship between pathogen growth rate and virulence. Ecol Lett, 26(6), 896-907. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wood E, Schulenburg H, Rosenstiel P, Bergmiller T, Ankrett D, Gudelj I, Beardmore R (2023). Ribosome-binding antibiotics increase bacterial longevity and growth efficiency. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 120(40). Abstract.  Author URL.
Catalán P, Wood E, Blair JMA, Gudelj I, Iredell JR, Beardmore RE (2022). Seeking patterns of antibiotic resistance in ATLAS, an open, raw MIC database with patient metadata. Nat Commun, 13(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Nev OA, Lindsay RJ, Jepson A, Butt L, Beardmore RE, Gudelj I (2021). Predicting microbial growth dynamics in response to nutrient availability. PLoS Comput Biol, 17(3). Abstract.  Author URL.
Lindsay RJ, Jepson A, Butt L, Holder PJ, Smug BJ, Gudelj I (2021). Would that it were so simple: Interactions between multiple traits undermine classical single‐trait‐based predictions of microbial community function and evolution. Ecology Letters, 24(12), 2775-2795. Abstract.
Duxbury SJN, Bates S, Beardmore RE, Gudelj I (2020). Evolution of drug-resistant and virulent small colonies in phenotypically diverse populations of the human fungal pathogen. <i>Candida glabrata</i>. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1931), 20200761-20200761. Abstract.
Nev OA, Jepson A, Beardmore RE, Gudelj I (2020). Predicting community dynamics of antibiotic-sensitive and -resistant species in fluctuating environments. J R Soc Interface, 17(166). Abstract.  Author URL.
Reding C, Hewlett M, Bergmiller T, Gudelj I, Beardmore R (2019). Fluorescence photography of patterns and waves of bacterial adaptation at high antibiotic doses. Abstract.
Lindsay RJ, Pawlowska BJ, Gudelj I (2019). Privatization of public goods can cause population decline. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 3(8), 1206-1216. Abstract.
Beardmore RE, Cook E, Nilsson S, Smith AR, Tillmann A, Esquivel BD, Haynes K, Gow NAR, Brown AJP, White TC, et al (2018). Drug-mediated metabolic tipping between antibiotic resistant states in a mixed-species community. Nat Ecol Evol, 2(8), 1312-1320. Abstract.  Author URL.
Beardmore RE, Cook E, Nilsson S, Smith AR, Tillmann A, Esquivel BD, Haynes K, Gow NAR, Brown AJP, White TC, et al (2018). Erratum to: Drug-mediated metabolic tipping between antibiotic resistant states in a mixed-species community (Nature Ecology &amp; Evolution, (2018), 2, 8, (1312-1320), 10.1038/s41559-018-0582-7). Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2(11). Abstract.
Lindsay RJ, Pawlowska BJ, Gudelj I (2018). When increasing population density can promote the evolution of metabolic cooperation. ISME J, 12(3), 849-859. Abstract.  Author URL.
Takano S, Pawlowska BJ, Gudelj I, Yomo T, Tsuru S (2017). Density-Dependent Recycling Promotes the Long-Term Survival of Bacterial Populations during Periods of Starvation. mBio, 8(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Reding-Roman C, Hewlett M, Duxbury S, Gori F, Gudelj I, Beardmore R (2017). The unconstrained evolution of fast and efficient antibiotic-resistant bacterial genomes. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(3).
Lindsay RJ, Kershaw MJ, Pawlowska BJ, Talbot NJ, Gudelj I (2016). Harbouring public good mutants within a pathogen population can increase both fitness and virulence. Elife, 5 Abstract.  Author URL.
Rashkov P, Barrett IP, Beardmore RE, Bendtsen C, Gudelj I (2016). Kinase Inhibition Leads to Hormesis in a Dual Phosphorylation-Dephosphorylation Cycle. PLoS Comput Biol, 12(11). Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, Kinnersley M, Rashkov P, Schmidt K, Rosenzweig F (2016). Stability of Cross-Feeding Polymorphisms in Microbial Communities. PLoS Computational Biology, 12(12). Abstract.
Meyer JR, Gudelj I, Beardmore R (2015). Biophysical mechanisms that maintain biodiversity through trade-offs. Nat Commun, 6 Abstract.  Author URL.
Fuentes-Hernandez A, Plucain J, Gori F, Pena-Miller R, Reding C, Jansen G, Schulenburg H, Gudelj I, Beardmore R (2015). Using a sequential regimen to eliminate bacteria at sublethal antibiotic dosages. PLoS Biol, 13(4). Abstract.  Author URL.
Sieber M, Robb M, Forde SE, Gudelj I (2014). Dispersal network structure and infection mechanism shape diversity in a coevolutionary bacteria-phage system. ISME Journal, 8(3), 504-514. Abstract.
Sieber M, Gudelj I (2014). Do-or-die life cycles and diverse post-infection resistance mechanisms limit the evolution of parasite host ranges. Ecology Letters, 17(4), 491-498. Abstract.
Peña-Miller R, Fuentes-Hernandez A, Reding C, Gudelj I, Beardmore R (2014). Testing the optimality properties of a dual antibiotic treatment in a two-locus, two-allele model. J R Soc Interface, 11(96). Abstract.  Author URL.
Maharjan R, Nilsson S, Sung J, Haynes K, Beardmore RE, Hurst LD, Ferenci T, Gudelj I (2013). The form of a trade-off determines the response to competition. Ecology Letters, 16(10), 1267-1276.
Maharjan R, Nilsson S, Sung J, Haynes K, Beardmore RE, Hurst LD, Ferenci T, Gudelj I (2013). The form of a trade-off determines the response to competition. Ecol Lett, 16(10), 1267-1276. Abstract.  Author URL.
Levert M, Zamfir O, Clermont O, Bouvet O, Lespinats S, Hipeaux MC, Branger C, Picard B, Saint-Ruf C, Norel F, et al (2011). Correction: Molecular and Evolutionary Bases of Within-Patient Genotypic and Phenotypic Diversity in Escherichia coli Extraintestinal Infections. PLoS Pathog, 7(6). Abstract.
Beardmore RE, Gudelj I, Lipson DA, Hurst LD (2011). Metabolic trade-offs and the maintenance of the fittest and the flattest. Nature, 472(7343), 342-346. Abstract.  Author URL.
MaClean RC, Fuentes-Hernandez A, Greig D, Hurst LD, Gudelj I (2010). A mixture of "cheats" and "co-operators" can enable maximal group benefit. PLoS Biol, 8(9). Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, Weitz JS, Ferenci T, Claire Horner-Devine M, Marx CJ, Meyer JR, Forde SE (2010). An integrative approach to understanding microbial diversity: from intracellular mechanisms to community structure. Ecol Lett, 13(9), 1073-1084. Abstract.  Author URL.
Estrela S, Gudelj I (2010). Evolution of cooperative cross-feeding could be less challenging than originally thought. PLoS One, 5(11). Abstract.  Author URL.
Levert M, Zamfir O, Clermont O, Bouvet O, Lespinats S, Hipeaux MC, Branger C, Picard B, Saint-Ruf C, Norel F, et al (2010). Molecular and evolutionary bases of within-patient genotypic and phenotypic diversity in Escherichia coli extraintestinal infections. PLoS Pathog, 6(9). Abstract.  Author URL.
Forde SE, Beardmore RE, Gudelj I, Arkin SS, Thompson JN, Hurst LD (2008). Understanding the limits to generalizability of experimental evolutionary models. Nature, 455(7210), 220-223. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, Beardmore RE, Arkin SS, MacLean RC (2007). Constraints on microbial metabolism drive evolutionary diversification in homogeneous environments. J Evol Biol, 20(5), 1882-1889. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, Coman CD, Beardmore RE (2006). Classifying the role of trade-offs in the evolutionary diversity of pathogens. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 462(2065), 97-116. Abstract.
MacLean RC, Gudelj I (2006). Resource competition and social conflict in experimental populations of yeast. Nature, 441(7092), 498-501. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, Fitt BDL, van den Bosch F (2004). Evolution of sibling fungal plant pathogens in relation to host specialization. Phytopathology, 94(7), 789-795. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, White KAJ (2004). Spatial heterogeneity, social structure and disease dynamics of animal populations. Theor Popul Biol, 66(2), 139-149. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, White KAJ, Britton NF (2004). The effects of spatial movement and group interactions on disease dynamics of social animals. Bull Math Biol, 66(1), 91-108. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gudelj I, van den Bosch F, Gilligan CA (2004). Transmission rates and adaptive evolution of pathogens in sympatric heterogeneous plant populations. Proc Biol Sci, 271(1553), 2187-2194. Abstract.  Author URL.
Beardmore I, Beardmore R (2003). The global structure of a spatial model of infectious disease. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 459(2034), 1427-1448. Abstract.
Beardmore I, White KA (2001). Spreading disease through social groupings in competition. J Theor Biol, 212(2), 253-269. Abstract.  Author URL.

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External Engagement and Impact

Awards/Honorary fellowships

 NERC Advanced Fellow 2007-2012

Committee/panel activities

 NERC College Peer Review Member

Editorial responsibilities

Scientific Reports Editorial Board

Invited lectures

2008 - International workshop on Viral Dynamics and Evolution, Georgia Tech, USA

2008 - Conference of the European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology, Edinburgh, UK

2008 - BIOMAPS seminar series, Rutgers University, USA

2008 - British Mathematics Colloquium, York, UK

2009 - Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity colloquium, UBC, Vancouver, Canada

2009 - Ecology Seminar, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

2009 - The American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, Philadelphia, USA

2009 - The Ecological Society of America General Meeting, Albuquerque, USA

2009 - Darwin Seminar Series, University of Bath, UK

2010 - International workshop, Modelling evolutionary and ecological processes in biogeochemical cycles, University of East Anglia, UK

2010 - Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Ploen, Germany

2010 - UK-Brazil Frontiers of Science Symposium, Campinas, Brazil

2010 - Inaugural Colloquium, Systems and Synthetic Biology Program, Campus Univ. Autonoma de Madrid, Spain

2011 - International workshop on Biothermodynamics of Metabolic and Ecological Networks, Bonn, Germany 

2011 - International workshop, Mathematics of Microbes: Biological Details of the Evolving Cell, London, UK

2011 - Genetics, Evolution and Environment Seminar, UCL, London

2011 - Society for General Microbiology Meeting, Harrogate, UK

2012 - Genomes and Genetics Department, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

2012- Gordon Research Conference on Cellular and Molecular Fungal Biology, New Hampshire, USA

2012 - Center for the Environment, Harvard University , US

2012 - 10th International Conference of Numerical analysis and applied mathematics, Kos, Greece 

2012 - Biosciences Science Colloquia, Birmingham University, UK

2013 - CoSyDy Meeting: Complexity in Biological Systems, Imperial College London, UK

2013 - International meeting, Quantitative Evolution Dynamics, University of Exeter, UK

2013 - FEBS Advanced Course: Molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions and virulence in human fungal pathogens, La Colle-sur-Loup, France 

2013 - Evolution seminar, CNRS, Montpellier, France

2013 - CoSyDy Meeting: Complexity in Biological Systems,  Imperial College London, UK

2013 - FEBS Advanced Course: Molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions and virulence in human fungal pathogens, La Colle-sur-Loup, France 

2014 - Mathematical Biology Seminar, University of Dundee, UK 

2014 - International conference on Systems Biology of Drug Resistance Evolution, Center for Genomic Sciences, UNAM, Mexico

2014 - Critical Infection International Colloquium, University of Sydney, Australia

2015 - Ecology and Evolution Seminar, Imperial College London, UK 

2015 - Mathematical Biology Seminar}, University of Edinburgh, UK

2015 - International conference on Modelling Biological Evolution: linking mathematical theories with empirical realities, University of Leicester, UK

2016 - International course on Microbial Ecology, Catalina, Italy (declined due to maternity leave)

2016 - Evolutionary Genetics Symposium, Bangalore, India (declined due to maternity leave)

2016 - AMS Experimental Evolution Meeting, Washington, US (declined due to maternity leave)

2016 - BRITE Workshop on Evolving Communities, Ploen, Germany (declined due to maternity leave)

2016 - Swedish meeting on Mathematics in Biology, Gothenburg, Sweden

2017 - Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics Seminar University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2017 - Gordon Conference on Microbial Population Biology, US

2018 - Annual Conference, Microbiology Society, Birmingham

2018 - International Conference on Stochastic models of evolving populations: from bacteria to cancer, International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, Scotland

2018 - York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis, University of York

2018 - Applied Mathematics Seminar, University of Birmingham

Media Coverage

Radio Serbia interview: How can mathematics be applied in biology, discussing mathematics for biology in a radio program `A step towards science', August 2015

Finanical Times article: Why bacteria are model investors, August 2013

BBC news article: Bacteria give lessons in investment economics, August 2013

Science Daily: Selfishness can sometimes help the common good, 15th September 2012

BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Radio Wiltshire: Selfishness can sometimes help the common good, aured 15th September 2010

New Scientist: Too much food can be bad for biodiversity, September 2008

Workshops/Conferences organised

2009 - EPSRC International workshop: Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance, Imperial College London, UK

2009 - EPSRC International workshop: Evolution of Stress Responses, University of Aberdeen, UK

2010 - EPSRC International workshop: Models and Microbial Model Systems, University of Liverpool, UK

2011- EPSRC International workshop: Evolution of Microbial Cooperation, University of Bath, UK

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