Sarah Nichols

Academic Profile

I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with a Year Abroad at the University of East Anglia. During my studies, I spent a year at the University of Amsterdam where I worked as a Research Assistant in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics. During this time, I developed a passion for researching parasitic interactions and explored the impact of infection by Ophryocystis elektroskirrha on the moth Heliothis virescens. Following my undergraduate degree, I gained experience as a graduate Research Assistant with Prof Cock van Oosterhout. We used population genetics to explore the adaptation of the marine diatom, Thalassiosira pseudonana, to various heating regimes. I went on to complete a Master of Research in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation at University College London. During my master’s I carried out two research projects. In the first, I used a metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing approach to elucidate seasonal, species and sex dependent changes in the eukaryotic faecal communities of migratory waterfow. In the second, I assessed a genetic rescue attempt in the hihi (Notiomystis cincta) using a long-term dataset. Following my master’s, I worked as a Research Integrity Specialist at Frontiers Media, gaining valuable insight into the publishing industry. I am a keen science communicator and manage communications for the British Ornithologists’ Club (BOC). This involves facilitating quarterly online talks, managing the website and coordinating a blog.

Current Research

I will be exploring the parasite dynamics in sequential colonisations of the silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) across the South Pacific Islands. I will be using various molecular tools to approach this project including metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing of faecal samples to allow whole eukaryotic parasite communities to be studied.


Gao, K., Muijderman, D., Nichols, S., Heckel, D. G., Wang, P., Zalucki, M. P., & Groot, A. T. (2020). Parasite-host specificity: a cross-infection study of the parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha. Journal of invertebrate pathology, 170, 107328. Briscoe, A. G., Nichols, S., Hartikainen, H., Knipe, H., Foster, R., del Campo, J., Green, A. J., Okamura, B., & Bass, D. (2020). High-throughput sequencing of faeces provides evidence for dispersal of parasites and pathogens by waterbirds. In review for Molecular Ecology Resources.

Contact information

Web Page:

Orchid ID:  0000-0001-5053-3858

Twitter Account:   @sarah_e_nichols