Professor Kayla Christina King

Biological Sciences
Professor of Evolutionary Ecology Zoology, Tutor of Biology, Christ Church


BSc, MSc, PhD

Academic Background

I am originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, and am the first in my family to attend university. I studied for a BSc in Ecology and Environmental Biology at the University of British Columbia (2001-2004), followed by an MSc in Parasitology at Concordia University (2004-2006). Subsequently, I moved to Indiana University in the US to earn my PhD in Evolutionary Biology and Genetics (2006-2011). I was awarded a Royal Society Newton International Fellowship to conduct post-doctoral research at the University of Liverpool (2011-2013) before moving to Oxford. I am presently Professor of Evolutionary Ecology in the Department of Zoology and Tutor of Biology at Christ Church.

Undergraduate Teaching

Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, Disease Biology

Research Interests

Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, Host-Parasite Interactions, Symbiosis, Biodiversity


2020 Linnean Society Bicentenary Medal

2018 Philip Leverhulme Prize for Biological Sciences 

2017 Oxford University Student’s Union Outstanding Graduate Supervisor Award 

2013 American Society of Naturalists Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Prize

Select recent publications:

Drew, G.*, Stevens, E.*, King, K.C. 2021. Microbial evolution and transitions along the mutualist-parasite continuum. Nature Reviews Microbiology.

Ekroth, A.K.E., Gerth, M., Stevens, E., Ford, S.A., King, K.C. 2021. Host genotype and genetic diversity shape the evolution of a novel bacterial pathogen. The ISME Journal. 

Ford, S., King, K.C. 2021. In vivo microbial coevolution favours host-protection and plastically downregulates immunity. Molecular Biology and Evolution 38, 1330-1338.

Bankers, L., Dahan, D. Neiman, M., Frost, C.L., Hurst, G.D.D., King, K.C. 2021. Invasive freshwater snails form novel microbial relationships. Evolutionary Applications 14, 770-780.

King, K.C., Hurst, G.D.D., Lewis, Z. 2020. Let’s emerge from the pandemic lockdown into a fairer academic world. Current Biology 30, PR799. 

Hall, A., Ashby, B., Bascompte, J., King, K.C. 2020. Measuring coevolutionary dynamics in communities of more than two species. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 35, 539-550.

Ekroth, A.K.E., Rafaluk-Mohr, C., King, K.C. 2019. Host genetic diversity limits parasite success beyond agricultural systems: a meta-analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286.  

Pike, V., Lythgoe, K., King, K.C.2019. On the diverse and opposing effects of nutrition on pathogen virulence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286. 

Betts, A., Gray, C., Zelek, M., Maclean, R.C., King, K.C. 2018. High parasite diversity accelerates host adaptation and diversification. Science 360, 907-911. 


music, running