Wallapat Phongtang

Learning how bacteriophages function in bacterial populations to understand their roles in the environment


Wallapat Phongtang
Wallapat Phongtang
Image: Nisanart Kaenwong

“What are actually the viruses? ” This is the concept that I have been wondering about since I started my very first project. Because I love seeing unicellular organisms under the microscope, I decided to seek out an answer for that question through the study of bacteriophages, the bacteria-eater viruses. Bacteriophages, as viruses, are not really alive, but somehow can dynamically influence (and co-evolve with) the bacterial population and community. Therefore, my research interest is to learn how they function in bacterial populations, and this can give more insight into their roles in the environment.

Career path

2022 – present: PhD in microbiology at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
Thesis: Host Range Evolution Potential of Bacteriophages

2018 – 2022: Master of Science Program in Biological Science at Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand
Thesis: Incidence and characterisation of Bacillus cereus bacteriophages from Thua Nao, a Thai fermented soybean product

2014 – 2018: Bachelor of Science Program in Biosciences at Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand
First-class honours, gold medal award
Senior project: Bacteriophage control of Salmonella Typhimurium in milk.

Representative research

I studied the prevalence and characteristics of bacteriophages infecting Bacillus cereus. B. cereus are foodborne pathogens that can be found in various ecosystems, and also on contaminated food. Incidences of B. cereus in Thua Nao (a traditional fermented soybean paste) were reported in northern Thailand, and bacteriophages have been increasingly relevant as biocontrol agent. Thus, I tried to isolate the bacteriophages capable of controlling the growth of B. cereus from local Thua Nao products. The isolated bacteriophages showed to be able to reduced the growth of B. cereus, and the resistant colonies develop changes in their appearance. This study showed that the B. cereus bacteriophages can be isolated from Thua Nao, and also showed that bacteriophages could influence the physical properties of the infected bacterial population.


  1. Wallapat Phongtang, Ekachai Chukeatirote (2021): "Incidence and characterisation of Bacillus cereus bacteriophages from Thua Nao, a Thai fermented soybean product.External link" Biomolecular Concepts 12(1): 85-93, doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmc-2021-0009External link
  2. Wallapat Phongtang, Geun-Pyo Choi, Ekachai Chukeatirote, and Juhee Ahn (2019): "Bacteriophage control of Salmonella Typhimurium in milk.External link" Food science and biotechnology 28 (1): 297-301, doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10068-018-0446-6External link
  3. Ekachai Chukeatirote, Wallapat Phongtang, Jeongjin Kim, Ara Jo, Lae-Seung Jung, and Juhee Ahn (2018): "Significance of bacteriophages in fermented soybeans: A reviewExternal link." Biomolecular concepts 9(1): 131-142, doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmc-2018-0012External link