Professor Thomas Mock, Group Leader
Professor Thomas Mock
Group Leader / Principal Investigator
E-Mail: T.Mock@uea.ac.uk

 
 
Biography

Fellow of Higher Education Academy

I obtained myMSc(1998) in Biology with emphasis on Biological Oceanography at the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel and the PhD (2003) at Bremen University (Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research), Germany. Before joining the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 2007, most of my PostDoc research was conducted with a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the School of Oceanography, University of Washington (EV Armbrust lab) in joint cooperation with the Biotechnology Center, University of Wisconsin (MR Sussman lab), USA. Before I was promoted to Professor in 2014, I was Reader (2012-2014) and had a Research Councils UK (RCUK) Academic Fellowship (2007-2012). I am a member of several genome and metagenome projects with marine microalgae (e.g. diatoms) and bacteria and conducted transcriptome analysis with diatoms using microarrays and expressed sequence tags (ESTs) in order to find the molecular basis of adaptation to environmental conditions. A crucial part of this research is the identification of metabolic pathways (e.g carbon fixation, silicon bioprocesses in diatoms) and their key regulatory components (e.g. DNA-binding proteins) to find mechanisms on how these organisms sense changes in environmental conditions. This fundamental knowledge about microbes from the upper ocean will help to interpret future responses to global change.


Research Interests

Environmental and functional genomics of marine microbial organisms; metagenomics of the upper ocean; physiological adaptation; diatom biology; photosynthesis; polar biology; biochemistry; biological oceanography.


Publications

For publications, please see the publications page.


 

 
Dr Nigel Belshaw, Laboratory Technician
Dr Nigel Belshaw
Laboratory Technician
E-Mail: N.Belshaw@uea.ac.uk

 
 
 
Biography

After obtaining a degree in Biochemistry from the University of East Anglia (UEA) I studied for a PhD on the regulation of gene expression in filamentous fungi at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in the Norwich Research Park. This project and my subsequent research were focussed on the role of chromatin structure and epigenetic modifications as regulators of gene expression. Until recently I led a team at IFR investigating the role of epigenetics in gut disease and the influence of lifestyle factors. In my current role I will be developing and utilising the CRISPR/Cas genome editing tool to understand gene function in the polar diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus.


 

 
Dr Irina Grouneva, Post-Doctoral Researcher
Dr Irina Grouneva
Post-Doctoral Researcher
E-Mail: I.Grouneva@uea.ac.uk

 
 
 
Biography

Diatoms have been the main focus of my research for more than ten years. My areas of expertise are physiology, proteomics and molecular biology. I obtained my PhD in Biology at the University of Leipzig, Germany in 2009 and went on to work as a postdoc in the group of Prof. Eva-Mari Aro at the University of Turku, Finland for six years. I moved to Norwich in April 2016 to start work on an exciting new project on gene editing of the ice diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus in the lab of Professor Thomas Mock at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The objective is to establish the recently developed CRISPR/Cas-mediated gene editing tool in this diatom species. The novelty of this approach lies with the possibility to generate complete knockouts for specific target genes, something that has not been possible in diatoms previously. F. cylindrus is the first fully sequenced psychrophilic eukaryote and can therefore provide invaluable insights into cold-adaptation of eukaryotic photosynthesis.


Research Interests

Diatoms, photosynthesis regulation, light harvesting, proteomics.


 

 
Amanda Hopes, PhD Student
Amanda Hopes
PhD Student
E-Mail: A.Hopes@uea.ac.uk
Primary Supervisor: Professor Thomas Mock
Secondary Supervisor: Dr Richard Bowater (School of Biological Sciences)


Biography

I have a keen interest in molecular phycology since my Masters of Research in Marine Biology at the Marine Biological Association (Plymouth University). Working in the Brownlee lab my project was based on the development of a transformation system in the Coccolithophore Emiliania huxelyi. Following my masters degree I was employed as a molecular biologist in a biotechnology company working on a range of clinical diagnostic tools. After 4.5 years in industry I decided to return to academia to pursue a PhD and come back to the fascinating area of molecular biology in algae. My project is focused on regulation of silica metabolism in the polar diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus and in particular on a potential transcription factor with a silicon binding site discovered following sequencing of the F. cylindrus genome.


Research Interests

Functional genomics in algae; molecular biology; diatom biology; silica metabolism; gene regulation.


Publications
  1. Hopes A. & Mock T. (2015) Evolution of Microalgae and Their Adaptations in Different Marine Ecosystems. eLS
    (DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023744)
  2. Hopes A. & Mock T. (2014) Diatoms: Glass-dwelling dynamos. Microbiology Today :41(1), 20-23
    (http://www.sgm.ac.uk/en/publications/microbiology-today/past-issues.cfm/publication/real-superheroes/article/E73DF3D1-0B43-4B5E-B75BC06736CD0538)

 

 
Kara Martin, PhD Student
Kara Martin
PhD Student
E-Mail: K.Martin@uea.ac.uk

Biography

Bioinformatics approaches for assessing the impact of temperature on eukaryotic phytoplankton
I graduated from the University College Dublin (UCD) with a degree in Science, majoring in Microbiology in 2011. My final year project was 'Investigating the role of sigma factor in physiology of Rhodococcus equi.' I then went to pursue a masters and graduated with a MSc. in Bioinformatics from University of Leicester in 2012. My final year project for my masters was 'In silico mining for microsatellites'. I gained research experience in bioinformatics at the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB). The role involved statistical analysis of microarray data generated from colorectal cancer samples conducted within the R/Bioconductor software environment.
I am currently in my first year of my PhD. My project is "Bioinformatics approaches for assessing the impact of temperature on eukaryotic phytoplankton".


 

 
Ana Bermejo Martínez, PhD Student
Ana Bermejo Martínez
PhD Student
E-Mail: A.Bermejo-Martinez@uea.ac.uk
Biography

I studied Biology at the University of Santiago de Compostela, where I majored in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. My interest in the application of Biotechnology in the environment drove me to study for an MSc in Biotechnology for a Sustainable Future at the University of East Anglia (UEA). My Master's research project in the group of Dr Jonathan Todd focused on how Thalossiosira pseudonana, a model marine diatom, synthesises glycine betaine, the most abundant osmolyte in nature.
After my masters, I became a Senior Research Technician in the research groups of Dr Jonathan Todd and Professor Thomas Mock. My project involved dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) synthesis in phytoplankton, as well as continuing the work on glycine betaine synthesis from my Master's project.
In my current PhD project, I am taking a step further in the glycine betaine synthesis research in diatoms, as well as using these new findings for the improvement of key agricultural crops.‬‬