UCL Division of Biosciences


Benjamin Sobkowiak

Ben Sobkowiak

My main interest lies in applying a holistic approach to understanding the spread of emerging and re-emerging diseases through a combination of genomic, experimental and simulation based approaches. Currently my PhD project is focused on understanding the genetic and ecological factors that have led to the spread of Shigella sonnei in Southeast Asia, with a shift from S. flexneri to S. sonnei taking place as the main etiologic agent of shigellosis in the region. This work involves combining bioinformatics techniques using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) data and laboratory experiments to identify key features that may lead to the spread of an infectious disease, including modelling transmission patterns and defining antibiotic resistance profiles.

I obtained my undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol in 2008 and completed a research masters in 2010 jointly at Imperial College and the Natural History Museum London. Between finishing my masters and starting in the Balloux group in 2012, I worked as a scientific researcher for a non-governmental organisation in Southwestern Tanzania, a region in which I still have an active conservation interest through working with a local society to develop project ideas.