Who we are

The group

Pedro Vale (PI)

Chancellor's Fellow
Society in Science - Branco Weiss Fellow
Email Pedro

Pedro is an evolutionary ecologist with broad interests in infection, immunity and behaviour. He received his PhD from the University Edinburgh in 2009 for work done on host-parasite interactions in the invertebrate model Daphnia. Following postdoctoral research at the CNRS in Montpellier (France), in 2013 he joined the Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution (CIIE) as a research fellow to work on the causes and consequences of disease tolerance in Drosophila. Since 2015, he is a group leader at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (U. Edinburgh) supported by a Society in Science – Branco Weiss fellowship.


Jonathon Siva-Jothy

NERC E3 DTP PhD Student
Email Jonti

Jonti received a BSc (Hons) in Evolutionary Biology from the University of St. Andrews in 2015. His PhD in the Vale lab addresses the genetic, physiological, and behavioural causes of individual variation in pathogen transmission. 


Katy Monteith

Research Assistant
Email Katy

Katy recevived a BSc (Hons) in Zoology and an MSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare from the University of Edinburgh. Katy plays an important role in managing every aspect of the Vale lab, and also finds time to run her own experiments on behavioural responses to infection.  


Tiina Salminen

Postdoctoral fellow

Email Tiina

Tiina was previously at the University of Tampere (Finland). Her work has previously focused on the ecological genetics, mitochondrial biology, and immunity of Drosophila. Her work in the Vale lab will continue these topics, using cybrid lines to explore the the role of mitochondrial genome variation on fly immunty to bacterial, viral and parasitoid infection.


Vincent Doublet

Marie Curie Postdoctoral fellow

Email Vincent

Vincent's research interests are in the understanding the relations between coevolving host and microorganisms. Vincent has worked on invertebrate models across different types of interactions, from mutualism (mitochondria-host cell interaction) to parasitism (fungal and viral pathogens of bees), using experimental approaches and next-gen sequencing. His Marie Curie EU-funded fellowship is exploring how pathogens evolve when hosts vary in their ability to tolerate infection. 


Arun Prakash

Darwin Trust PhD student (from Oct 2016)

Arun has been working on the evolutionary ecology of flour beetle immune function in Deepa Agashe's lab, and will continue the theme in fruit flies. He is broadly interested in (a) immunity in the context of aging (b) immune defense strategies; resistance and/or tolerance (c) immunological memory in insects (d) chemical defense strategies (e) stress and genetics of immunity.




Co-supervised PhD students

Eevi Savola

Eastbio PhD student - with Craig Walling

Dietary restriction; ageing; longevity; fecundity; infection; Drososphila.



Megan Wallace

NERC E3 DTP PhD student - with Darren Obbard

Drosophila viruses; Virus hunting; wild virology.




Sarah Heath

BBSRC Eastbio PhD student -  with Sinead Collins

Viral infection in marine algae; environmetnal stress; costs of resistance; experimental evolution; Ostreococcus tauri; OtV.




Former lab members


Ruth Larsen

MolBiol Hons. Student

"Within- and between-generational effects of temperature on gut microbiota and disease susceptibility"





Joe Boyle

Evolutionary Biology Hons. Student

"Genetic variation in social aggregation and pathogen transmission"




Renat Oosthuizen

Zoology Hons. Student

"The link between immunty and aggression in Drosophila"



Vanika Gupta

Postdoctoral fellow

Vanika was a postdoc in the lab between 2015-2017, having previously done an impressive PhD in the Prasad Lab at IISER Mohali on experiemental evolution of resistance and tolerance in Drosophila. During her time in our group, Vanika's work focused on better ways to measure disease tolerance, and on genetic variation in mortality and sterility tolerance of a viral infection in D. melanogaster. Vanika is currently a postdoc with Brian Lazzaro at Cornell.



Helen Borthwick

Research Technician

Helen brought over 20 years of lab experience to our group and took care of all aspects of lab maintenance, media preparation, H&S paperwork, fly husbandry, and even found time for the odd experiment. Her charm and wit are missed. Helen is currently enjoying a much-deserved retirement.



Emili Ziem

Research assitant

Emili was broadly interested in biomedical science and public health. Her work in the group addressed the consequences of anti-disease therapies on the epidemiology of infectious disease. Emili carried out a systematic search of published scientific literature to assess the effect of NSAID/antipyretic use on the potential for disease transmission. She is currently studying towards a Science Degree,




Joaquim Contradanças

Visiting Summer student from Universidade de Lisboa

Joaquim spent 8 weeks in our lab, and developed an interest for behavioural assays. During his stay, Joaquim tested how viral infection affected male-male aggression in D. melanogaster.  Joaquim is currently a Master's student at the Arendt Lab at the EMBL in Heidelberg. 



Charlotte Stewart  

Zoology Honours student 2015

Charlotte did her undergraduate project research in our lab. She investigated the physiological and behavioural effects of low, sub-lethal levels of viral gut infection in D. melanogaster. Her work showed that even infections that do not kill flies can make them sick by moving less, changing their reproduction and affecting their ability to excrete. Charlotte went on to do an MSc in Conservation at U. Exeter (Cornwall), and is now doing Citizen Science in the middle of the Atlantic on the Açores islands.


Michael Jardine

Undergraduate summer student 2014

Michael was one our first students, and did some great work testing how viral infection affects fly locomotion and sleep. He also tested the ability of flies to avoid infectious feeding sites when foraging, and found that previously exposed female flies showed lower motivation to pick a food source when presented with a risk of encountering virus. Michael went on to do an MSc in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College, and will soon start a PhD in the NERC London DTP. In the meantime he enjoys shooting birds.




Vasantha Krishnan

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Vasantha is a microbiologist and during his time in our group he worked on oral baterial infection in D. melanogaster. He found that the route of infection determines whether the endosymbiont Wolbachia can protect flies from infection. Vasantha is currently a postdoc at the CNRS Insitute of Genetics and Develepment in Rennes.