Dr Chris Knight

Senior Lecturer

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Experimenting with Evolution

We want to understand the mechanics of evolution. Exactly what molecules change? In what ways are these changes beneficial (or not) to the organism? How does this relate to what happens in populations of organisms? We mostly answer these questions using microbes. This means that our work relates to issues from the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to the roles of microbiomes – the mixed populations of microbes in particular places, from soil to our guts. Microbes reproduce fast enough that we can watch evolution happening in real time on the lab bench. To make sense of what’s going on we use computational models. Our mixture of wet-lab and computational approaches means that we collaborate both with other biologists, contributing quantitative approaches, as well as computer scientists and theoreticians.


2017 – present

University of Manchester, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Senior Lecturer

2012 – 2017
University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences, Lecturer

2008 – 2013 University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences, Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow

2005 – 2007
University of Manchester, Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, BBSRC Postdoc with Douglas Kell

2002 – 2005
University of Oxford, department of Plant Sciences, NERC Postdoc on the molecular basis of evolution in the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens with Paul Rainey and the proteomics lab in the department of Biochemistry.

1997 – 2001
Imperial College London at Silwood Park, PhD on ‘The genetics and evolution of body size in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans’ funded by NERC, supervised by Armand Leroi

1994 – 1996
Christ's College Cambridge, MA Natural Sciences, finalising in genetics

External positions

Pool of Experts, Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

1 Jan 201731 Dec 2022


  • Experimental Evolution, Microbiology, Modelling, Pleiotropy, Epistasis, DNA damage, DNA repair, Synthetic biology, Simulation, Experimental Design, Statistics, Genotype-by-environment interaction, Environmental change, Survival of the flattest, Critical mutation rate, Fluctuation test, Networks

Related information


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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