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Personal profile

Research overview

I am interested in the co-evolution of Earth and life over timescales of hundreds of millions of years. I study this using bioinformatic tools (such as phylogenetic analyses, bayesian molecular clocks, microbial culture, genome assembly and gene-tree-species-tree reconciliation) to recover signals of past life in microbial genomes. These signals help to time the emergence of key metabolisms (such as antioxidant enzymes, iron transporters) and life hitsory strategies (e.g. the transition from unicellular to multiclelular morphologies), which go some way towards explaining how ancestral life-forms interacted with what would seem to us as ancient and unfamiliar planetary environments (e.g. periods of extreme cold and eras with "toxic" anoxic global atmospheres). Much of my research in the past has used cyanobacteria as model organisms, but I am now broadening this field to look at the utilisation of phosphorous molecules by diverse bacteria and archaea spanning the entire tree of life.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Keywords

  • QH426 Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Microbiology
  • Genomics
  • Phylogenetics

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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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