School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Staff Profile

Dr Angela Sherry

CEG and SAgE Faculty Research Fellow (Geomicrobiology)



I joined Civil Engineering and Geosciences in 2000 as a PhD student studying microbial ecotoxicogenomics. Since 2005 I have undertaken an array of post-doctoral research predominantly on the characterisation of microbial communities involved in anaerobic oil biodegradation, under methanogenic and sulphate-reducing conditions.  I’ve worked on RCUK, EU and industry funded projects looking at the stimulation of microbes in reservoirs for the enhanced conversion of oil to methane and determining factors which govern the onset of oil field souring by spore-forming, thermophilic sulphate-reducing microbes.  I am also involved in projects on polygonal microbial mats from the Abu Dhabi sabkha, and aerobic methane oxidation in marine sediments (microbiology and bacteriohopanepolyol (BHP) signatures).  More recently, my research has focused on oil bioremediation and the stimulation of hydrocarbon-degrading microbes using macro- & micro-nutrients, and nanoparticles.


2000-2005: Ph.D. in Molecular Microbial Ecology 
1996-2000: 1st Class Honours in Applied Microbiology

Previous Positions

2016 -2017 Principal Investigator (IfS-funded project, Newcastle University) SmartGates, a novel nutrient delivery system to enhance bioremediation of oil-contaminated sediments (£9.6k)

2014 - 2016 Research Associate (EU FP7)  Kill Spill: Integrated biotechnological solutions for combating marine oil spills.

2014-2017 Marie Curie International Outgoing Research Fellow (in partnership with Shell) PETROBIOME: Defining a core petroleum reservoir microbiome (position not taken up).

2013-2016: Faculty of SAgE Research Fellow (£4k pa)

2013-2018: School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences Research Fellow (£1.2k pa)

2011-2013: Research Associate (ERC)  Quantifying aerobic methane oxidation in the ocean: calibration and palaeo application of a novel proxy

2007-2011: Research Associate (NERC)  Crude oil oxidation without an electron acceptor; syntrophic hydrocarbon degrading microbes work together to "crack" a tough problem

2008-2009: Microbiology Project Manager for Profero Energy Inc.  Stimulation of microbial activity in petroleum reservoirs for the enhanced conversion of oil to methane

2006-2007: Research Associate (Bacchus project)  Microbiological studies of methanogens in petroleum reservoir microbial communities

2006-2007: Research Associate (NERC urgency grant)  Biogeochemical & microbial analyses of a deep saline hot water aquifer in a geothermal borehole in northeast England

2004-2006: Research Support Officer

2000-2005: Ph.D. - An Ecotoxicogenomic Study in Escherichia coli K12-MG1655.


American Geophysical Union (AGU)

International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME)

European Association of Organic Geochemists (EAOG)

International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (ISSM)

Geomicrobiology Network UK (Communications)


Research Interests

Anaerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation
Aerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation
Petroleum microbiology
Environmental Microbiology
Functional Genomics
Microbial Ecology
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)

Current Work

SmartGates, a novel nutrient delivery system to enhance bioremediation of oil-contaminated sediments

Research Roles

2014 Researcher representative on the Human Resources Excellence in Research Steering Group.

2008 - 2010 Co-representative of Researcher’s Forum in CEG (with Rich Dawson).

Reviewer for Scientific Reports, Microbial Ecology, ISME journalEnvironmental MicrobiologyOrganic Geochemistry, International Biodeterioration and BiodegradationJournal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology, Fuel.


Bethan Lloyd  - hosted and organised work experience placement in Geomicrobiology group, CEG, March 2017.
Rebecca Steele - hosted and organised work experience placement in Geomicrobiology group, CEG, Feb 2015.
Kirsten Dutton - (PhD student) From sediment to rock – the role of microbes in early lithification of sabkha sediments, 2014-2017.
Emma Bell - Knowledge Build Research with Exxon Mobil (with Dr Casey Hubert & Dr Giovanni Pilloni), 2014.
Kate Osborne - (PhD student) Investigating the environmental controls of hopanoid biosynthesis via functional gene analysis, 2011-2014.
MSc project supervision: Pornprakarn Karnboon (2016), Guillermo Cueto and Moses Etelej (2015), Jennifer Chapman (2009), Henrik Serk (2008), Lauren Mckee & Sani Yahaya (2007), Sriram Iyer (2006).
BSc project supervision: Amy Crawshaw (2006).

Past and Present Funding

2016 - 2017 Principle Investigator - SmartGates, a novel nutrient delivery system to enhance bioremediation of oil-contaminated sediments.  Institute for Sustainability, Newcastle University (£9.6k).

2013 - 2016 Research Fellowship in the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering (SAgE), Newcastle University (£4k pa).

2013 - 2018 Research Fellowship in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG), Newcastle University, (£1.2k pa).

2013 Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship (ca. €392k) with CEG & SHELL oil & gas.

Esteem Indicators

2014 Session Chair for Molecular Microbial Ecology Group (MMEG), Bangor University, Wales.

2014 Kill•Spill project partners meeting, Messina, Sicily. Scientific Evening oral presentation: Micronutrient effects on hydrocarbon biodegradation under sulphate reducing conditions (invited).

2012 Presentation at the Gordon Research Seminar in Organic Geochemistry, Holderness, New Hampshire, MA, USA. Changes in aerobic methane oxidation, methanotroph communities and bacteriohopanepolyol signatures in response to environmental perturbations in estuary sediments (invited).   

2009 Geochemical Society's Paper of the Year Award for Jones et al., 2008; Nature, 451 (7175), 176-180.

2008 Session chair at the 14th Molecular Microbial Ecology Group (MMEG), University of Warwick.

Best Scientific Poster Prize on 3 occasions for studies on the role of microbial communities in anaerobic oil biodegradation:

            2010 Reservoir Microbiology Forum (RMF), Energy Institute, London, U.K.

            2009 Int’l Symposium on Appl. Mol. Microbiol. in Oil Systems (ISMOS-2), Denmark.

            2007 ISMOS-1, University of Essex, U.K.

2006 Co-convener of the 12th Molecular Microbial Ecology Group (MMEG), Newcastle University.

2005 Presentation at the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), Newcastle University. Towards Ecotoxicogenomics: response of E. coli gene expression to a biodegradable toxic compound, para-nitrophenol (PNP).


CEG8632 Sedimentary Organic Matter 1 (2015/2016) 
Lecture - Microbial role in the production and preservation of sedimentary organic matter.
Assisted on Staithes, North Yorkshire geology field trip. 

NERC Oil and Gas CDT course: Extra heavy oil/oil sands exploitation, economics and environmental consequences.  Hosted at Durham University, 7th July 2015.