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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am a Daphne Jackson Research Fellow within the Microbiology group at the Strathclyde Institute of  Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. After a 6 year career break from 2012 to 2018, I returned to academic research in my current role in molecular microbiology.

My research focusses on testing the hypothesis that thermophilic Actinobacteria growing at higher temperatures may produce new antimicrobials. Most antibiotics are produced by Actinobacteria, predominantly mesophilic species. We are isolating thermophilic Actinobacteria from green waste compost – a rich source of bacteria and fungi responsible for generating the heat that drives the composting process.

Up until my career break, my background was in bacterial taxonomy. I obtained an industrially sponsored PhD in 2001 in the taxonomy of Bacillus species and related genera, and have spent some time working in industrial research in USA, developing the Bacillus bacterial identification product (BCL Card), part of the VITEK®2 Compact automated identification system. 

I am a member of the Microbiology Society. I have reviewed articles for several journals including the Journal of Clinical Microbiology and the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 

I am a member of the Athena Swan Committee within SIPBS.

 

Research Interests

My research focusses on testing the hypothesis that thermophilic Actinobacteria growing at higher temperatures may produce new antimicrobials. Most antibiotics are produced by Actinobacteria, predominantly mesophilic species. We are isolating thermophilic Actinobacteria from green waste compost – a rich source of bacteria and fungi responsible for generating the heat that drives the composting process.

Up until my career break, my background was in bacterial taxonomy, in which I maintain a keen interest. 

In my current research many techniques are used: molecular microbiology, physiology, microscopy, genomics, and bioinformatics as well as chemistry for compound extraction and structural elucidation.  

In July 2018 I began a collaboration with Professor Carol Munro, of the Aberdeen Fungal Group,  investigating   the antifungal potential of compounds produced by thermophilic Actinobacteria from compost and their effect upon strains of drug resistant human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus; the causative agent of life threatening infections such as Invasive Aspergillosus.  I am Principal Investigator on this project funded by the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) Antimicrobial Resistance fund (awarded 2018).

 

 

 

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