A black squirrel

The Genetic Research Group aims to bring together people from different disciplines of genetics including medical, biological, environmental and forensic. Within the group we aim to share ideas and promote intra- and interdisciplinary collaboration to develop project in genetics, increase the possibility of funding and publish in high impact journals.

The Genetics research area is part of the Biomedical Research Group and the Forensic & Investigative Sciences Research Group.

We offer a Biomedical Science PhD or Forensic & Investigative Sciences PhD, and a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers in Biomedical Science or Forensic Science.

For more information, contact Dr Nathalie Zahra at or Dr Krithika Sundararaman at


Dr Krithika Sundararaman

Dr Krithika Sundararaman is a geneticist with research interests in medical genetics, in particular, in understanding the genetic cause of rare diseases. She has worked on genetics of epilepsy, and on understanding the genetics of complex disease including type 2 diabetes. She has also worked in the fields of population genetics and human evolutionary genetics during her PhD.

Dr Claire Pike

Dr Claire Pike is a senior academic at ARU with academic interests are related to the epigenetic regulation of gene expression, study on genes that are found to be recurrently targeted by structural changes, signalling factors that maintain integrity of the mammary epithelium, and the effects of their dysregulation. She also carries out research in breast cancer genetics, looking at finding ‘drivers’ of tumorigenesis in genetically dissimilar cases.

Dr Paty Celis

Dr Paty Celis is interested in the development and application of molecular tools for answering ecological and evolutionary questions. She has used molecular tools to study breeding behaviours (for example, investigating breeding tactics: monogamy, polyandry, polygyny, parasitism, etc) and to determine the evolutionary history of hybridising species (population genetics). Paty has also been involved in research projects concerning physiological adaptations in response to environmental changes.

Dr Bas Boots

Dr Bas Boots' academic interests are related to linking microbes, animals, plants and ecosystem functioning: from genes to ecosystems. Microbial communities associated with animals, including insects, bivalves and cattle. Development of technologies to detect pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in the environment. Impacts of anthropogenic pressures (e.g. pollutants) on ecological processes in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Biogeochemistry, biodiversity and ecology of soil, water and sediment.

Dr Nathalie Zahra

Dr Nathalie Zahra has worked in various fields of genetics including environmental, biomedical and forensic, mostly focusing on the technology used for the analysis of genetic markers for the various applications. At ARU she is part of the forensic and investigative studies team, teaching mostly forensic biology. Her research interest includes fingerprints analysis, analysis of genetic markers for trace biological material and fingermarks. She also carries out research related to forensic genetics and society, and the use of forensic phenotypic markers for investigative purposes.

Read more about more about members of the genetics research group.