Megan Sorensen

Metabolic mechanisms of (photo)synthetic symbiosis


I studied Natural Sciences, specialising in Plant Sciences, at the University of Cambridge. I then completed a research masters at the University of York, and now I am at the University of Sheffield for my PhD. My main research interests are: Evolutionary biology, endosymbiosis, and microbiology.

Project summary:

Endosymbioses have shaped the evolutionary history of life and continue be of major ecological importance. My project uses a Protist-Algal endosymbiosis to study the mechanisms behind the establishment of this key evolutionary process. I use multiple approaches, including experimental evolution, metabolomics, and ecological responses, to understand how these two organisms can shift from being free-living to becoming dependent on one another. Specifically, I am conducting an evolution experiment to study the co-evolution between novel partners and I am using metabolomics to understand the nutrient exchange between the organisms and how this changes in different environmental conditions. I am supervised by Mike Brockhurst (Sheffield), Duncan Cameron (Sheffield) and Jamie Wood (York).