Brandon Shaw

Loughborough University


Investigating how fungal endophytes assist the nutritional ecology of carnivorous pitcher plants Sarracenia purpurea.


  • Dr Jon Millett
  • Dr Dave Ryves

PhD Summary

Fungal endophytes are fungi which live asymptomatically inside plant materials and can confer specific advantages through production of secondary metabolites and nutrient transportation. This project aims to identify fungal endophytes growing within European populations of Sarracenia purpurea, in order to compare the endophytes to those in North American populations of S. purpurea. It is currently unknown if fungal endophytes in any carnivorous plant are facilitating carnivory in any way (through aiding digestion or inquiline control), should the scope of the PhD allow it I would be interested to investigate a direct link between fungal endophytes and improved carnivory.

Previous activity

Before my PhD I studied my undergraduate degree in Biology at Aberystwyth University, and then my Masters in “Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation” at Kew Gardens/ Queen Mary University of London.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

Doctoral research will allow me to apply my previously learned skills in mycology to a new research area to me leading to wider skill development. Developing my skills as a researcher through learning new techniques will allow me to become a well-rounded member of the research community.

Why did you choose CENTA?

I was attracted to a doctoral training program such as CENTA as being the first person to gain an undergraduate degree in my immediate family, let alone attempt to gain a PhD, I knew that the staff and student community would be an invaluable asset to guide me through my PhD program. A wide range of available training and skill development opportunities provided by CENTA will also provide opportunities that may not have been available through other PhD pathways.

Future plans

Studying this PhD at the University of Loughborough will allow me to develop essential research skills to allow me to become a future leader in my chosen field. Training and work placement will give me other industry experience should I decide to explore non-research related career paths.