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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Richard Lindsay

Dr Richard Lindsay

Research Fellow

 Living Systems Institute S03


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


I am a post-doctoral researcher in Ivana Gudelj’s research group where we use a combination of mathematical modelling, synthetic biology, and eco-evolutionary lab experiments to study how microbial interactions influence the evolution of cooperation, population diversity and disease processes. I obtained a BSc in Biosciences (1st) at Cardiff University (2009) and a PhD at the University of Exeter (2016).  


BSc in Biosciences (1st) at Cardiff University (2009). My research project was studying the influence of climate change on the interactions between saprotrophic fungi and mycophagous arthropods, supervised by Dr. Hefin Jones and Prof. Lynne Boddy.

PhD at the University of Exeter (2016). Supervised by Prof. Ivana Gudelj and Prof. Nick Talbot. Thesis: Polymorphic metabolism and the eco-evolutionary influence of social feeding strategies. I studies microbial metabolic interactions with the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


2021 - present             BBSRC Researcher co-Investigator with Prof. Ivana Gudelj (University of Exeter).

2019 - 2021                    Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow with Prof. Ivana Gudelj (University of Exeter).

2016 - 2019                        ERC Research Fellow with Prof. Ivana Gudelj (University of Exeter).


Research group links

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Research interests

Interactions between organisms, both cooperative and competitive, occur in creatures from complex humans to simple RNA viruses. I am interested in how these ecological interactions evolved, how they influence the success of individuals and populations, and how they influence disease.

Fungi are model organisms for understanding eukaryotic evolution and represent important systems of study for disease management and food security. My current research is examining nutrient acquisition by fungi, how feeding mechanisms evolve and how external digestion can influence the fitness of a pathogen population and the damage that they cause to plants. I am also using the Rice Blast Fungus Magnaporthe oryzae to investigate antifungal resistance evolution and disease transmission

Research grants

  • 2020 BBSRC
    BBSRC-NSF/BIO - The impact of public versus private metabolism on the stability of microbial communities within natural hosts (£450,132).
  • 2019 Leverhulme Trust
    Quantifying the relationship between parasitic growth and host plant damage (£193,611).


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Journal articles

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.
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.
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.
Lindsay RJ, Pawlowska BJ, Gudelj I (2019). Privatization of public goods can cause population decline. Nat Ecol Evol, 3(8), 1206-1216. Abstract.  Author URL.
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.
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.

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