I joined Newcastle as a Demonstrator in 1976 and after a period (1981-1984) as a BBSRC Research Fellow (partly held at the University of California, Riverside) I was appointed to Lectureship in Botany in 1984, with responsibility for primarily for teaching cell structure and phycology. My long-standing research interests are studying aquatic fungi and I am also interested in the biology and development of algae and their parasites. My international contribution to mycology was recognised in 2009 with my award of Honorary Membership of the American Mycological Society, an honour reserved for distinguised overseas mycologists.
I served as the degree programme director for Biology of Plants and Animals degree programme from 1994 until 2004 and was Undergraduate Admissions tutor for Biology from 2004-2009. I am currently DPD for Biology (C100) and Biology (Ecology and Conservation) (C180) degree programmes (from 2009). I have acted as the co-ordinator for Biological Sciences stream for the widening participation "Partners" programme since it was introduced in 2001.
Undergraduate Admissions Tutor 2004-2009
Member of Partners Steering Group (since 2001)
Member of School Teaching and Learning advisory board
DPD for Biology Degree 1991-2004 2009-presnt
Chairman BoS in Biology 2002-2004
Member of Biomedical EM Lab user group
First Degree: B.Sc Hons (lst Class) ARCSc. Botany & Plant Technology (June 1971).
Awards: 1st Year Scholarship (1968/69); Forbes Memorial Medal (1971).
Postgraduate Degree: Ph.D. (Lond.) DIC (Aug. 1976).
1998 to present. Reader in Developmental Mycology (August 1998-present) Department of Biological and Nutritional Sciences, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
1984-1998: Lecturer in Biology (October 1984 -July 1998). Department of Biological and Nutritional Sciences, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU.
1981-1984: SERC Advanced Research Fellow (June 1981 - Sept. 1984). Department of Plant Pathology, University of California at Riverside (Sept 82-Sept 83) and above.
1976-1981 Senior Demonstrator (April 1976 - April 1981). Department of Plant Biology, The University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU.
1974-1976 Junior Demonstrator (Sept. 1974 - April 1976). Department of Biology, University of Keele, Staffordshire.
British Mycological Society (1976)Council Member 1988-1997 (Membership Secretary for 5 years).
American Mycological Society (1988). Elected as Honorary Member 2009
Royal Microscopical Society (1979-2001);
British Phycological Society (1985-presnt)
Society for General Microbiology (1984-2004);
Freshwater Biological Association (1986-2008)
I am a respected photographer of natural history subjects and lecture widely to groups throughout NE on topics such as Wild Fungi, Microscopy and Plants and Algae.
I run adult education courses on Wild Fungi (for Sunderland University and Newcastle College). Have run continuing education courses on Plant Photography, Seaweeds and Freshwater algae; Microscopes and Microscopy.
Electron microscopist and fungal and algal cell biologist.
I am interested in the phylogeny and modes of infection of oomycete parasites of marine algae, nematodes and fish and in chytrid and parasites of algae and nematodes.
Using laser confocal microscopy in conjunction with vital stains to visualize live algal cells.
1. Evolutionary Phylogeny of Oomycete Fungi
The objective of this research project is to clarify the evolutionary origins of the economically important oomycete 'fungi'. Previous work on simple holocarpic parasites of nematodes (funded by Leverhulme Trust) has shown that these organisms are structurally diverse and almost certainly not part a monophyletic lineage. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies carried out in collaboration with Dr Claire Gachon, SAMS Oban, Marco Thines, Honneheim, Dr S L Glockling and Dr Tim James, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has confirmed this. Phylogenies based upon the small ribosomal subunit gene has shown that the problematic genus Haptoglossa forms, together with the marine species Eurychasma, the earliest branching clade to the oomycete lineage.
Other holocarpic nematode parasites such as Chlamydomyzium and Myzocytiopsis spp. form separate clades within the two main oomycete sub-orders. Work is in progress comparing morphology and cell structure amongst the early branching marine genera and Haptoglossa (in conjunction with Satoshi Sekimoto and Daiske Honda, Konan University).
2. Molecular taxonomy of Botryococcus braunii.
This green, colonial alga is of interest because of its ability to synthesise and secrete hydrocarbons, as well as its historic importance as the origins of many coal and petroleum deposits. We have shown that Botrycoccus is a member of the Trebouxiophyceae and forms the sister clade to a unicellular nanoplankter, Chloricystis. We have collaborated closely on this project with Prof Pierre Metzger,CNRS, Paris who has provided us with many of the isolates that we used and has carried out lipid analyses on our uncharacterised isolates. We have shown that the main biochemical races, map closely on molecular clades but these bear little relation to species defined by classical morphological descriptions. We are in the process of trying to re-define the classification and nomeclature used for what clearly is a species complex.
1. It is hoped to further clarify relationships amongst the basal oomycete fungi, by broadening both taxon sampling and number of genes sequenced, so that a robust multigene phylogeny of this important group can be established.
1 current PhD Student (Alanoud Rawdhan) on iPhD programme.
One of my past PhD students was awarded Manton Prize of Linnean Society for best national PhD thesis in 'Plant Sciences' in 1997.
I have been invided to participate and take a lead co-ordinating role in an initiative launced by "Frontiers in Plant Science" to lead a forum related to oomycete phylogeny and evolution (April 2012) as a topic recognized by this on-line publishing organisation as a topic of international importance as a result of recent review articles that I have written.
I have been invited to bea member of the international subcommittee dealing with taxonoic and nomenclatural aspects of Oomycete fungi under the auspices of International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi. (April 2012).
I am one of the two external assessors on the Advisory Board of an EU Funded "SAPRO project" (Sustainable Approaches to Reduce Oomycete (Saprolegnia) Infections in Aquaculture) which is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded by the European Commission (EC) under Framework Program 7. (2010-2014). I have been invited to give one of the plenary lectures at the final conference for this project in Aberdeen, September 2013.
I am co-editor (with Prof Pieter Van West) on a special issue of Fungal Biology devoted to Saprolegnia parasitica, to co-incide with the public release of the full genome sequence of this important fish pathogen.
Elected as Honorary Member of Mycological Society of America, July 2009
Invited to participate in TOLWEB workshop on Protist Diversity, Halifax Nova Scotia, July 2008.
I serve on the advisory panel of an NSF funded 'Tree of Life' project the Evolutionary Phylogeny of Heterokont Algae (PI Dr RA Andersen) (awarded 2006).
Served on Plant and Microbial Sciences Review Panel of Reseach Institute Staff (2001/2).
Editorial Board member of Mycological Research (1993-1998; 2008-present) and formerly of the Mycologist (1994-1998).
Invited lectures at International Symposia
"A brief history of nearly everything about chytrids" 8th Internatinal Mycological Congress, Cairns Aug 06.
"Sexless pistols: the enigmatic life history and infection process of the zoosporic nematode pathogen, Haptoglossa". 7th International Mycological Congress, Oslo, Norway. August 2002
"An historical overview of biflagellate fungal diversity based upon morphological and structural information". "The use of computer assisted learning programmes in the teaching of mycology and microscopy". 3rd Asia-Pacific Mycological Congress on Biodiversity and Biotechnology, Kunming, China. November 2002.
"The seven ages of Salomon Bartnick-Garcia" Invited introductory biography of honoured keynote speaker. "Infection strategies shown by zoosporic fungal parasites of nematodes".
7th International Fungal Biology Conference, Guanajuato, Mexico. December 2002.
"The evolutionary phylogeny of oomycete fungi" 8th International Marine and Freshwater Mycology Symposium, Chiang Mai, Thailand. November 2004.
Invited Research Seminars
"Infection strategies in zoosporic fungal parasites of nematodes". CABI Biosciences, Egham Surrey. July 2001.
"Enigmatic superguns." Departmental Seminar, City University Hong Kong, November 2002.
"My fungi and other animals - the evolutionary origins of fungi and fungal-like organisms." School Seminar, Biological Sciences, Birmingham, November 2003.
"Grappling irons to superguns - a microscopic search for weapons of fungal mass destruction." Invited Annual M.C. Cooke lecture to Queckett Microscopical Club, Natural History Museum, July 2004
The work has been funded by NERC, Leverhulme Trust and MAFF.
Studies on fish pathogens will be of use in control of these organisms and is of importance to Scottish fish farming industry.
Botryococcus may in future be exploited as a source of biofuel.
BIO1001 Cell Biology (Module Leader)
BIO1007 Plant Biology I
MST1009 Marine Primary Producers
BIO2003 Field Identification Skills - Fungi (unit leader)
BIO2004 Plant Biology 2
BIO2017 Microbiology 2 (Module leader)
MST2005 Biological Oceanography
ACE2031 Animal Parasitology
BIO3023 Plant Pathology
BIO3032 Cell Biology 2
BIO3022 Residential Field Course (Kielder)
BIO3095 Biological Information Project (Module Leader)
BIO3094 Biological Review (Module leader)