Research Interests

My research topics have developed out of a strong interest in analytical techniques for detection of biomarkers/polar molecules and microbial ecology/biogeochemistry. During my PhD and various post-doctoral positions at the Netherlands Royal Institute for Sea Research, Plymouth University and Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, I worked on Archaea (production and biodegradation of lipids) in sediments, on products of microbial biodegradation of oil, on polar compounds (sterols) in sponges and fossil concretions. Now, I am carrying out research at the University of Bristol as a research fellow (2014-2017) and I am working on a way to enable the determination of the stable isotopic composition of large, polar biomarkers for the methane cycle. We would like to use these biomarkers to find out more about which organisms are involved in the methane cycle in the marine and the terrestrial environment, to determine how much methane they produce under different conditions and how this will change with an increase in global annual average temperatures.

I use molecules of microorganisms to find out what they eat, where they get it from and how much greenhouse gas they produce in the present, the past and the future.

For my research, I use highly developed analytical methods such as HPLC-ESI-MSn, GC-IRMS, GCxGC-TOFMS and am now developing HT-GC-IRMS. I am also very interested in the use of advanced data processing and statistical methods for geochemistry, in order to investigate patterns of naturally produced and anthropogenic compounds in the environment, and to compare recent organisms or samples with fossil biomarker distributions.

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Brief History



Teaching and Learning

I am an organic biogeochemist, and a Lecturer in Organic Chemistry. I am teaching the module 'Advanced Organic Chemistry' (3rd year) in the BSc Chemistry course at Plymouth University. The module discusses the solving of complex problems using the integration of knowledge acquired throughout the whole previous course (2.5 years of Chemistry!). The main focus is on applications of organic chemistry in the real world: Mass Spectrometry, Bioorganic Chemistry, Natural Products Chemistry, Pharmaceuticals, Green Chemistry for Synthesis, Environmental Chemistry, Organic Geochemistry and Stable Isotopes.

Recent Publications

Research Income

Dates Funding Body and Project Amount
2014 Rubicon Fellowship (NWO, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)
Personal grant for conducting research on the methane cycle at the University of Bristol with Professor R. Pancost as host
2006 Faculty of Science Grant, University of Graz
Attendance of a course in Arctic Microbiology, University of Trømsø - The University Center in Svalbard, Norway
ca €1,000
Total = €152,000

International & National Conference and Meeting Presentations

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