Staff Profile of Dr Ian Wilson

Dr Ian Wilson
Research Officer
01248 382139
3rd Floor, ECW Building, School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK


I completed my undergraduate degree in Microbiology at the University of Liverpool in 2009, before taking on a Research Assistant role in the same department. This job involved working on a KTP project with United Utilities as part of a small team investigating the efficiency of current sewage treatment techniques. Our work made use of microbiology, molecular biology and genetics techniques.

Inspired by the molecular biology and genetics-based aspects of my role as a Research Assistant, I completed a postgraduate degree in the fields of genetics and bioinformatics at the University of Liverpool in 2015. My PhD focused on members of the protozoon genus Entamoeba confirmed or suspected of parasitising human hosts and causing the disease amoebiasis. Better understanding of the genetic traits that can trigger symptomatic disease states in infected hosts would improve our ability to treat this disease. Utilising comparative genomic analyses, I sought to identify virulence factor gene families that play significant roles in causing symptomatic amoebiasis, as well as studying in depth, for the first time, the genome of the little-studied, but potentially important species, Entamoeba moshkovskii.

I moved to Bangor in 2016 to apply my skills in bioinformatics and genetics to the fascinating ecosystem of Lake Massoko in Tanzania, working under Prof George Turner in the Molecular Ecology and Fisheries Genetics Laboratory.




Quick CV


2010 - 2015: Postgraduate Degree in Genomics at the University of Liverpool, UK. Thesis title: ‘Comparative genomic analyses of Entamoeba species’
2006 – 2009: Undergraduate Degree in Microbiology at the University of Liverpool, UK.  

Research experience and training

2013: Genomatix workshop (University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK): 2 day software training workshop covering a web-based assembly, mapping and variant detection programme.
2011: IGS Genomics Workshop (University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA): 5 day workshop covering multiple genomics pipelines and processes, including: Assembly, Gene Finding, Functional Annotation, Gene Ontology, Comparative Genomics, Expression Analysis, Metagenomics, and Pipeline creation and management.
2010: Research Assistant in Microbiology department (University of Liverpool, UK): Investigated microbial regrowth in treated sewage using a range of microbiological and molecular biological techniques


  • Wilson IW, Howcroft T, Weedall GD & Hall N. Annotation of the draft Entamoeba moshkovskii (strain Laredo) genome assembly. Presentation given at: EMBO Global Symposium on Amoebiasis; 2012; Khajuraho, India


Current Research


Genome-wide analysis of the evolution of new species


Sympatric speciation - the derivation of one species from another in the absence of a geographical barrier - has remained a controversial theory since its conception decades ago. Without definitive examples that can be studied in depth, it is very difficult to understand and explain the mechanics involved in this phenomenon. The cichlid fish of the African Great Lakes famously represent an uncommonly high level of diversity as a result of multiple adaptive radiations and are prime targets for the study of sympatric speciation.

This project focuses on one crater lake in particular – Massoko – in which a single species is in the process of diverging into a deep water form with blue males and a shallow water form with yellow males. Whole genomic DNA from 200 individuals from Lake Massoko has been sequenced. My goal is to identify associations between genetic variants in these individuals’ genomes and their morphological and ecological traits, as measured by my colleagues. Key associations will then be validated for an additional 100 males, using a SNP genotyping array (Sequenom). Identification of genetic and phenotypic traits responsible for driving sympatric speciation in these two forms may further our understanding of this fascinating phenomenon as we seek to understand the driving forces behind sympatric speciation.

Principal investigator of project

Prof George Turner (Bangor University)

Co-investigators of project

  • Dr Alexandra Tyers (Bangor University)
  • Dr Richard Durbin (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)
  • Dr Milan Malinsky (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute)
  • Dr Eric Miska (University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Martin Genner (University of Bristol)
  • Dr Richard Challis (University of Edinburgh)

Funding body of project

The Leverhulme Trust



  • Wilson IW, Weedall GD & Hall N. Host-Parasite interactions in Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar: what have we learned from their genomes? Parasite Immunology 2012; 34: 90–99.
  • Wilson IW, Weedall GD, Lorenzi H, Howcroft T, Hon C-C, Deloger M et al. Lineage-specific gene family expansions in members of the Entamoeba genus [manuscript in preparation]
  • Wilson IW, Weedall GD, Goodhead IB, D’Amore R, Paterson S & Hall N. Intra-species comparative analysis of diversity in Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba moshkovskii[manuscript in preparation]