Group leader
Dr. Mark van der Giezen, Senior Lecturer (m.vandergiezen{at}exeter.ac.uk). 
My research mainly focusses on intestinal microbiology and adaptations to the environmental conditions in the animal gut. The topic of my PhD at the University of Groningen and subsequent postdoc at the Natural History Museum focussed on rumen microbes that play an important role in animal nutrition. The topic shifted partly to human intestinal parasites during my postdoc at Royal Holloway, University of London. During my lectureship (Assistant Professor) at Queen Mary, University of London, research focussed on adaptations to life without oxygen as found in the intestine. Since taking up my current position as Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of Exeter, my work partly shifted back to how microbes play important roles in livestock and the role of microbial flora on animal health.


PhD-students

Jamie McFadzean, PhD student in Agricultural Microbiology (jm649{at}exeter.ac.uk).
I investigate microbial cycling, both pathogenic and commensal, on distinct pasture-based livestock production systems for beef, dairy and sheep herds. Temporal sampling at feed, within animal, on pasture and water course will be taken within the cycle and the microbial biosphere, namely antimicrobial resistance and environmental hardiness will be characterised using next-generation sequencing. This will facilitate the production of spatial and temporal mapping of the cycle of microbial ecology within various farm systems. Results will be benchmarked against Faecal Indicator Organisms, the current microbiological standard for water quality and many public health procedures. This BBSRC-funded project is jointly supervised with Dr. Jenni Dungait at Rothamsted and Prof. Michael Lee, School of Veterinary Science, Bristol.

Maulood Turfah, PhD student in Molecular Parasitology (mmst201{at}exeter.ac.uk).
In 1997, I graduated from the University of Baghdad, College of Veterinary Medicine (BVM&S). After that, I obtained an MSc in Veterinary Parasitology (2000) and worked on avian malaria (caused by Plasmodium juxtanuclear). Since 2002, I have been working as a lecturer at the College of Veterinary Medicine (University of Baghdad). I have 4 published papers in different Iraqi journals. I had a private veterinary clinic for 7 years. In 2013, I got a sponsorship from the Iraqi government to start my PhD in molecular parasitology and am currently working on Entamoeba invadens encystation.

Shatha Raof, PhD student in Parasitology (sawr201{at}exeter.ac.uk).
Understanding how intestinal parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica produce infectious particles known as cysts is crucial if we want to disrupt the lifecycle and spread of this deadly human pathogen. Using biophysical techniques, I aim to get a handle on the physical changes the lead to cyst production. This project is jointly supervised by Prof. Peter Winlove and Dr. Peter Petrov in Physics.

Diana Minardi, PhD student in Fish Pathogen Genomics (dm409{at}exeter.ac.uk).
Diana studied Aquaculture and Ichthyopathology at the University of Bologna, Italy. After her firsr degree, she continued in Bologna for a MSc in Health and Quality in Animal-based Products. She has worked with fish parasites at the University of Adelaide in Australia and at the University of Stirling, Scotland. Before starting her PhD, she also worked in the Microbiology team of the Aquatic Health and Hygiene Division at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Weymouth. Her PhD project focusses on comparative genomics and molecular parasitology of various Aphanomyces specie. This project is funded by the University of Exeter/Cefas Strategic Alliance and jointly supervised by Dr. David Studholme and Dr. Birgit Oidtman at Cefas).

Georgios Kontellas, PhD student Biochemical Parasitology (gk281{at}exeter.ac.uk).
Liverfluke causes massive economic damage to the cattle and sheep industry due to poor animal health and production. In addition, in some settings it caused disease in humans as well. Understanding how current commercial drugs actually work and interact with the flukes metabolism is important for the development of new drugs. Drug resistance is currently a problem and I hope to be able to provide novel drug targets to control and eradicate this serious threat to food security. This project is jointly supervised with Dr. David Studholme and Dr. Misha Isupov.

Corey Holt, PhD student Aquatic Invertebrate Microbiology (ch499{at}exeter.ac.uk).
Intenstive lobster cultivation is a novel attempt to produce sustainable protein from the marine environment. However, very little is known about how the health status of lobsters affects their productivity. This projects aims to understand how gut flora plays a role in lobster health using environmental genomics and linking this to histology and animal physiology.
This project is funded by the University of Exeter/Cefas Strategic Alliance and jointly supervised with Dr. David Bass at Cefas and Dr. Carly Daniels at the National Lobster Hatchery.

Skye Marshall, PhD student Biophysical Parasitology (sm781{at}exeter.ac.uk).
The biophysical changes happening at the membrane of encysting Entamoeba is completely unknown. How a rigid cell wall is deposited on a fluid membrane is an amazing problem. In addition to this, if we want to disrupt cyst formation as a possible intervention strategy against this deadly human pathogen that kills some 100,000 people each year, then we need exactly this kind of information to make informed decisions regarding potential drug targets. 
This EPSRC funded project is jointly supervised by Prof. Peter Winlove and Dr. Peter Petrov in Physics.

Katy Jones, PhD student Environmental Microbiology (kk281{at}exeter.ac.uk).
Using naturally occuring algae to clean industrial waste and actually valorising these waste streams is an important future strategy. Understanding which algae contribute to this process and how they interact with their biological and physical environment is important in order to be able to produce industrial scale processes. Using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics this project aims to unravel these complex interactions.
This project is jointly supervised by Dr. Steve Aves and Dr. David Studholme.

Joanna L'Heureux, PhD student Human Health and Nutrition (jl507{at}exeter.ac.uk).
Human health is tightly linked with the food people consume. However, how are nutrients in food taken up and made available to human cells? It has beeen discovered that microbes on the tongue play crucial roles in nitrate and nitrite metabolism and human health. Understanding this interaction by combing next generation sequencing with human physiology and health we aim to help in our quest for healthy ageing. This Wellcome Trust funded studentship is jointly supervised with Prof. Andy Jones and Dr. Anni Vanhatalo (Sport and Health Sciences) and Prof. Paul Winyard (Medical School).




Recent alumni

Dr. Sheera Abdulla. Former PhD-student (2011-2016), now research technician at the University of Exeter.
Michael Bottery. Former
MRes-student Bioinformatics (2013), now PhD-student at University of York.
Dr. Maria Siegesmund.
Former PhD-student (2007-2011) & post-doc (2011), now working at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Department of Experimental Phycology and Culture Collection of Algae, Germany.
Dr. Kerem Terali.
Former PhD-student (2006-2010), now Assistant Professor at the Near East University in Cyprus
.
Dr. Kailash Chand.
Former Post-doc (2009-2010), now PI at the National Institute of Malaria Research in New Delhi with a personal fellowship.
Joseph Harvey.
Former Wellcome Trust Vacation Scholar (Summer 2010). Now PhD-student at Queen Mary, University of London.
Ifeanyi Nwachukwu.
Former MSc Biocatalysis student (2009), now Vanier Scholar at the University of Manitoba.
Nebibe Mutlu.
Former Erasmus placement student (Summer 2009), now PhD-student at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA.
Dr. Karleigh Hamblin. Former PhD-student (2005-2008), now at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down.
Dr. Matthew Rogers.
Former Post-doc (2007-2008), now at the Center for Vaccine Research at the University of Pittsburgh, USA.