Royal Society-funded PhD student
Archaea are microorganisms that were previously thought to only exist in extreme environments. In recent years, it has become clear that they can be found almost anywhere and play a major role in the Earth’s global geochemical cycles.
In the global biogeochemical nitrogen cycle, archaea along with bacteria oxidise ammonia to nitrite. Ammonia oxidising bacteria (AOB) have been studied for over 100 years while ammonia oxidising archaea (AOA) were only discovered about 20 years ago. The ammonia oxidation process causes major nitrogen fertiliser losses in agricultural systems which contributes to environmental pollution and climate change. To reduce these negative impacts a further understanding of this process is necessary.
My PhD project focusses on identifying and characterising the enzymes that catalyse ammonia oxidation in archaea. We use pure cultures of AOA, isolated by my supervisor Laura Lehtovirta-Morley, as model organisms to study archaeal ammonia oxidation.
School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK