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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Robyn Manley

Dr Robyn Manley

Postdoctoral Research Associate

 Geoffrey Pope 211 and 401


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


I am a molecular ecologist interested in host-pathogen interactions. My current focus is on ecological and evolutionary risk factors that drive multi-host pathogens and disease emergence. Rapidly evolving RNA viruses and gut pathogens that infect multiple pollinating insects provide a model system in the field and lab. I have a background in marine biology, entomology and vector-borne disease.


PhD in Molecular ecology and evolution: transmission dynamics of pollinator viruses

MSc in Marine biology, (2008, University of Plymouth)
BSc in Zoology, (2006,University of Bristol)

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Research interests

I am interested in the epidemiology of infectious disease and the factors that influence transmission and disease emergence. These factors include host-specificity and pathogenicity of parasites; host phylogenetics and ecology; and host-parasite co-evolution. In addition, human activity can create unnatural opportunities for disease emergence and I’m interested in the effect of this on disease epidemiology. I use fast-evolving viral parasites of pollinating insects such as bees and hoverflies as a system to identify ecological and genetic risk factors that promote the emergence of infectious diseases. Pollinators are crucial for our food security and biodiversity. Conservation and disease control are the over-arching aims of my research and I aim to generate results that can be applied to this end.

Research projects

BBSRC: Understanding the impact of agri-environment schemes on emerging infectious diseases in pollinators. How does land management change the transmission dynamics of multi-host pathogens?

NERC: Host-specificity and cross-species transmission of RNA viruses in pollinating insects

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Journal articles

Dobelmann J, Manley R, Wilfert L (2024). Caught in the act: the invasion of a viral vector changes viral prevalence and titre in native honeybees and bumblebees. Biology letters, 20(5). Abstract.
Fletcher J, Manley R, Fitch C, Bugert C, Moore K, Farbos A, Michelsen M, Alathari S, Senior N, Mills A, et al (2024). The Citizen Phage Library: Rapid Isolation of Phages for the Treatment of Antibiotic Resistant Infections in the UK. Microorganisms, 12(2), 253-253. Abstract.
Manley R, Doublet V, Wright ON, Doyle T, Refoy I, Hedges S, Pascall D, Carvell C, Brown MJF, Wilfert L, et al (2023). Conservation measures or hotspots of disease transmission? Agri-environment schemes can reduce disease prevalence in pollinator communities. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 378(1873). Abstract.  Author URL.
Masoli JAH, Jeffries A, Temperton B, Auckland C, Michelsen M, Warwick-Dugdale J, Manley R, Farbos A, Ellard S, Knight B, et al (2021). Viral genetic sequencing identifies staff transmission of COVID-19 is important in a community hospital outbreak. Abstract.
Manley R, Temperton B, Boots M, Wilfert L (2020). Contrasting impacts of a novel specialist vector on multihost viral pathogen epidemiology in wild and managed bees. Mol Ecol, 29(2), 380-393. Abstract.  Author URL.
Manley R, Temperton B, Doyle T, Gates D, Hedges S, Boots M, Wilfert L (2019). Knock-on community impacts of a novel vector: spillover of emerging DWV-B from Varroa-infested honeybees to wild bumblebees. Ecol Lett, 22(8), 1306-1315. Abstract.  Author URL.
Manley R, Boots M, Wilfert L (2015). Emerging viral disease risk to pollinating insects: ecological, evolutionary and anthropogenic factors. J Appl Ecol, 52, 331-340.  Author URL.


Mitchelmore P, Michell S, Fletcher J, Manley R, Chait R, Graham J, Fitch C, Zheng J, Sacher J, Mills A, et al (2023). A citizen phage library for respiratory infection. Respiratory infections and bronchiectasis.

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Office Hours:

9-5 Monday-Thursday

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