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My research centres upon interactions between microbial processes and the health of our planet. with a key focus on microbial interactions within the cryosphere. Fundamentally I am interested in three research avenues: how microbial communities are formed, structured, and function in extreme environments, why and how microbial communities interact with environmental change, and how we can better understand microbial communities through the development of novel ‘omics approaches, for example portable genomics. I prefer to explore research questions at the junction of at least two of these three themes. This level of research activity has necessitated well over 30 glacier field deployments since 2006 to the Arctic, Antarctic, and European Alps. In 2017-19 I was the Royal Geographic Society’s inaugural Walters Kundert Arctic Fellow, leading the first exploration of polar night glacier ecology, while concurrently holding a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship. Current and recent research funding also includes UKRI NERC (Cryo365, MicroMelt, Exploring Subglacial Lake CECs, and a New Investigator project 2012-15), Research Council of Norway (BIOICE), EU InterReg (ACCLIMATIZE), Horizon2020 (MSCA COFUND, ITN MicroArctic). I currently supervise three PhD students and manage four postdoctoral researchers within our research group. I regularly communicate science relevant to my research interests within the new and legacy media in either Welsh or English, with contributions in the broadcast media to flagship BBC R4 Today Programme: Live from the University, Today Programme: Live from the Arctic, and Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, and the BAFTA award winning S4C Newid Hinsawdd, Newid Byd.
I am presently a Reader in Biosciences at the Department of Life Sciences of Aberystwyth University with research interests in planetary health microbiology. Currently, I am the course coordinator for the Department's Microbiology degree schemes and the Director of the University's Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Environmental Microbiology (AU iCEM). As a BSc graduate in Microbiology (2005) and PhD (2009) at Aberystwyth before joining the faculty in 2010 I have a close affinity for research led teaching of microbial biosciences in both Welsh and English.