Research

Microbiomes, their hosts and their environments form complex interactions. We're investigating the biosphere and the cryosphere, and we're using the latest technologies.

Biosphere

The plant microbiome has a key role to play in drought resistance, salt tolerance, nitrogen uptake and more. Our research into the characterisation of the microbiomes in the plant tissues of Miscanthus and Brachypodium is working towards improved biomass yield, generational transfer and healthier crops. We are also investigating the importance of microbes in regulating many common chemical reactions at the Earth's surface and in the deep subsurface, specifically through the interaction with mineral surfaces.

Cryosphere

Permanently-cold regions account for roughly 80% (by volume) of the biosphere of our planet, which has already been subject to four major glaciations in the last 500 thousand years. Yet we remain profoundly ignorant of the richness & significance of the biodiversity inhabiting these regions since it is largely microbial in nature. We are interested in improving our understanding at all scales of the dynamics of microbial communities associated with glaciers & ice sheets, from the molecular to the biome.

Technologies

From the latest in portable real-time genome sequencing to the development of novel computational algorithms, we're excited about the potential for the analysis of microbial communities. We work with short read and long read DNA and RNA, and are leading the way in taking sequencing live into inhospitable environments. Our computational work investigates the diversity present in metagenomes, and aims to discover more about the unknown and unclassified parts of any metagenome.