WELCOME TO THE

LEHTOVIRTA-MORLEY LAB

We work on the interplay between the environment, ecology, physiology and process rates of ammonia oxidation. We focus on the molecular and physiological mechanisms that underpin the adaptation of ammonia oxidisers to their environment. We use both cultivation-independent and cultivation-dependent approaches, and much of our work focuses on our model organisms Nitrosocosmicus and Nitrosotalea, which are terrestrial ammonia oxidising archaea.

LAURA LEHTOVIRTA-MORLEY

I am a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow and an Associate Professor. I have been at the University of East Anglia since 2017. Prior to starting my independent research group, I was a PhD student and a postdoc at the University of Aberdeen and also spent some time working at the Oregon State University and the University of Alberta. My proudest career moment is getting my work into Brock’s Biology of Microorganisms. I used to read this book a lot as a microbiology undergrad so it felt like a big milestone contributing to it.

I was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2019 to work on ammonia oxidation. I am a member of the ISME Journal Editorial Board and the ISME Junior Ambassador for the UK.

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RESEARCH

Most soils around the world are nitrogen limited and nitrogen fertiliser has to be added to the farmers’ fields to increase their crop yields. The problem with this is that up to 70% of nitrogen fertiliser is lost through the activity of ammonia oxidising archaea and bacteria and this has a negative effect on agriculture and contributes to climate change through the release of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. We study these ammonia oxidising microbes, which are among the most numerous living organisms on Earth and are found in diverse habitats such as soils, lakes, seas, manmade environments and even the human skin. In order to manage and balance nitrogen cycling in the environment, fundamental knowledge is required on the identity and function of the key microbes responsible. Read more about our work on this under the specific projects:

Ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) in a key enzyme in ammonia oxidation and a member of the copper-containing membrane monooxygenase (CuMMO) superfamily of enzymes...

Ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) in a key enzyme in ammonia oxidation and a member of the copper-containing membrane monooxygenase (CuMMO) superfamily of enzymes...

Ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) in a key enzyme in ammonia oxidation and a member of the copper-containing membrane monooxygenase (CuMMO) superfamily of enzymes...

CO-OXIDATION AND THE SUBSTRATE RANGE IN AMMONIA OXIDISERS

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Ammonia monooxygenase (AMO) in a key enzyme in ammonia oxidation and a member of the copper-containing membrane monooxygenase (CuMMO) superfamily of enzymes...

NOVEL ENZYMES IN

AMMONIA OXIDISING

ARCHAEA

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Ammonia is oxidised to nitrite via hydroxylamine and nitric oxide intermediates, but there are major gaps in our understanding of the enzymology of the ammonia oxidation pathway...

CRISPR GENOME ENGINEERING FOR AMMONIA OXIDISING ARCHAEA

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Ammonia oxidising archaea are among the most abundant living organisms on Earth and several genera have been isolated in pure culture over the last decade...

LINKING ECOLOGY, ENZYMES AND ECOSYSTEMS IN THE GLOBAL NITROGEN CYCLE (UNITY)

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Molecular tools have been incredibly useful in deciphering the diversity and abundance of ammonia oxidising microbes in the environment...

PEOPLE

 
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UEA-funded PhD student

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Royal Society-funded PhD student

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Royal Society-funded PhD student

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NERC ARIES DTP-funded PhD student

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ERC-funded

Postdoctorate

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ERC-funded Research Technician

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BBSRC DTP-funded PhD Student

 

CONTACT

School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

Phone: 01603 592192

E-Mail: l.lehtovirta-morley@uea.ac.uk

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