Thomas Richards

Tom Richards is Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at the University of Oxford, Tutorial Fellow at Merton College and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. Tom was an Undergraduate student studying Human Sciences at University College London and conducted his D.Phil. studies between the University of Oxford and the Natural History Museum, London. He was previously a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Integrative Microbial Biodiversity program, part of the EMBO Young Investigator Program and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow. In 2017 Tom was a Miller Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He has received several research prizes for his work including the Hutner Prize from the International Society of the Protistology, the Berkeley Award from the British Mycology Society, the Society for Experimental Biology President’s Medal for Cell Biology, and in 2014 he received a Philip Leverhulme Award for Bioscience. He currently holds an ERC consolidator grant.

Tom’s research is concerned with the diversity and evolution of the eukaryotic form, especially microbial forms. Over 1.5 billion years ago the most important evolutionary transition in the history of life occurred, leading to complex/compartmentalized cellular forms -the eukaryotes. The aim of Tom’s research is to understand the evolution and diversification of this form.

Selected Publications

  • Avelar GM, Schumacher RI, Zaini PA, Leonard G, Richards TA, Gomes SL. 2014. A rhodopsin-guanylyl cyclase gene fusion functions in visual perception in a fungus. Current Biology 24:1234-1240.
  • Brockhurst MA, Harrison E, Hall JP, Richards T, McNally A, MacLean C. 2019. The ecology and evolution of pangenomes. Current Biology 29:R1094-R1103.
  • Chambouvet A, Gower DJ, Jirků M, Yabsley MJ, Davis AK, Leonard G, Maguire F, Doherty-Bone TM, Bittencourt-Silva GB, Wilkinson M. 2015. Cryptic infection of a broad taxonomic and geographic diversity of tadpoles by Perkinsea protists. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112:E4743-E4751.
  • Chambouvet A, Monier A, Maguire F, Itoïz S, Del Campo J, Elies P, Edvardsen B, Eikreim W, Richards TA. 2019. Intracellular Infection of Diverse Diatoms by an Evolutionary Distinct Relative of the Fungi. Current Biology 29:4093-4101. e4094.
  • Chambouvet A, Smilansky V, Jirků M, Isidoro-Ayza M, Itoïz S, Derelle E, Monier A, Gower DJ, Wilkinson M, Yabsley MJ. 2020. Diverse alveolate infections of tadpoles, a new threat to frogs? PLOS Pathogens 16:e1008107.
  • Jones MD, Forn I, Gadelha C, Egan MJ, Bass D, Massana R, Richards TA. 2011. Discovery of novel intermediate forms redefines the fungal tree of life. Nature 474:200-203.
  • Kilias ES, Junges L, Šupraha L, Leonard G, Metfies K, Richards TA. 2020. Chytrid fungi distribution and co-occurrence with diatoms correlate with sea ice melt in the Arctic Ocean. Communications Biology 3:1-13.
  • Leonard G, Labarre A, Milner DS, Monier A, Soanes D, Wideman JG, Maguire F, Stevens S, Sain D, Grau-Bové X. 2018. Comparative genomic analysis of the ‘pseudofungus’ Hyphochytrium catenoides. Open biology 8:170184.
  • Leonard G, Richards TA. 2012. Genome-scale comparative analysis of gene fusions, gene fissions, and the fungal tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109:21402-21407.
  • Monier A, Chambouvet A, Milner DS, Attah V, Terrado R, Lovejoy C, Moreau H, Santoro AE, Derelle É, Richards TA. 2017. Host-derived viral transporter protein for nitrogen uptake in infected marine phytoplankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114:E7489-E7498.
  • Richards TA, Jones MD, Leonard G, Bass D. 2012. Marine fungi: their ecology and molecular diversity. Annual review of marine science 4:495-522.
  • Richards TA, Leonard G, Wideman JG. 2017. What defines the “kingdom” fungi? The Fungal Kingdom:57-77.
  • Richards TA, Massana R, Pagliara S, Hall N. 2019. Single cell ecology. In: The Royal Society.
  • Richards TA, Soanes DM, Jones MD, Vasieva O, Leonard G, Paszkiewicz K, Foster PG, Hall N, Talbot NJ. 2011. Horizontal gene transfer facilitated the evolution of plant parasitic mechanisms in the oomycetes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:15258-15263.
  • Richards TA, Talbot NJ. 2018. Osmotrophy. Current Biology 28:R1179-R1180.
  • Rodríguez-Martínez R, Leonard G, Milner DS, Sudek S, Conway M, Moore K, Hudson T, Mahé F, Keeling PJ, Santoro AE. 2020. Controlled sampling of ribosomally active protistan diversity in sediment-surface layers identifies putative players in the marine carbon sink. The ISME journal 14:984-998.
  • Savory FR, Milner DS, Miles DC, Richards TA. 2018. Ancestral function and diversification of a horizontally acquired oomycete carboxylic acid transporter. Molecular Biology and Evolution 35:1887-1900.
  • Soanes D, Richards TA. 2014. Horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotic plant pathogens. Annual Review of Phytopathology 52:583-614.
  • Wideman JG, Monier A, Rodríguez-Martínez R, Leonard G, Cook E, Poirier C, Maguire F, Milner DS, Irwin NA, Moore K. 2020. Unexpected mitochondrial genome diversity revealed by targeted single-cell genomics of heterotrophic flagellated protists. Nature Microbiology 5:154-165.