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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Jo Herbert

Jo Herbert

Graduate student

Bacterial Pathogenicity and Mutation Rate (Dr Lucy Weinert)


Recent undergraduate of Veterinary Bioscience BSc. at the University of Surrey, originally from Dorset. I have an interest in genetics and completed a placement year living in Madrid. I wanted to undertake an MPhil at Cambridge to gain more experience in research and to see whether I have what it takes to do a PhD!

Subject groups/Research projects

Infection and Immunity:

Research Interests

“Bacterial pathogenicity and mutation rate”. This project is ongoing. Characterisation of various pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of Streptococcus suis. Estimation of the relative mutation rate of these strains with use of fluctuation assays in order to ascertain whether pathogenic variants possess a faster mutation rate.

Final Year Research Project – University of Surrey                                                  October 2018 – 2019

“Analysis and validation of proteomic data describing the cellular response to the Buruli toxin mycolactone”. This project involved the analysis of an obtained proteomic dataset which showed changes in protein abundance in human endothelial cells in response to mycloactone. Bioinformatics was then used to select a protein that showed promise in disease pathogenesis and was validated using Western blotting.

Placement Research Project – Complutense University                                September 2017 – June 2018

“Brucella spp. detection in stranded cetaceans on the Valencian and Cantabrian coast between 2016-2017”. The aim of this project was to identify Brucella spp. in neurological samples of cetaceans that became stranded on the Valencian and Cantabrian coast between 2016-2017. Quantitative PCR was used to correlate the presence of the Brucella spp. with neurological lesions with the aim to identify a new diagnostic angle. Subsequently, we conducted phylogenetic analysis on our finding which preliminary indicated Brucella spp. to be a novel subtype specifically within the Mediterranean.

Santander Scholarship to University of São Paulo, Brazil                                         June 2017 – July 2017

This experience involved a 5-week visit to the University of São Paulo in Brazil, to both the São Paulo and Pirassununga campuses working with the subject-relevant Professors, PhD and Masters’ students. Over the course of the visit, each week was spent within a different research facility; animal anatomy, pathology, small animal nutrition, pig reproduction and dairy cattle research.






  • Streptococcus suis type 2