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People

We are the Clostridia Research Group (CRG) at The University of Nottingham.

Previous group members

 (click here to see current group members)

Carlo Rotta

PhD student

Carlo joined the CRG in 2010 as a Marie Curie fellow on the ITN CLOSTNET. He spent his first three years at Unilever, Colworth Park, before transferring to Nottingham to complete his final year. His project was concerned with using reverse genetics to better understand sporulation and germination in the food spoilage organism, Clostridium pasteurianum.

Sarah Mastrangelo

PhD student

Sarah joined the CRG in 2010 following her graduation from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Biotechnology. Her project project was concerned with the introduction of novel metabolic pathways into cellulolosic Clostridium spp. using Synthetic Biology.

Dr Kamila Derecka

Research Technician
    See selected publications

Kamila holds a degree in biology, an MSc in human genetics and PhD in molecular reproductive endocrinology. She has worked at The University of Nottingham in the Division of Animal Sciences as Postdoctoral Research Fellow for last several years before joining CRG. Her interests covering aspects of molecular endocrinology, biology of reproduction and genetics of fertility with study subjects ranging from bees to cattle. She joined the CRG to work on synthetic biology of clostridium and butanol production.

Sharla McTavish

Research Technician

Sharla joined CRG in October 2013. She completed her MSc in Molecular Microbiology from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 2008, characterising C. jejuni and C. coli found in New Zealand using MLST, PFGE and flaA-RFLP. Since then she has worked in clinical and research laboratories in New Zealand, Ireland and England identifying and characterising a wide variety of microbes including archaea such as Methanobrevibacter ruminantium. Whilst at CRG she worked to develop a novel process for the production of specific chemical molecules from renewable feedstock.

Wan Yee Ho

Research Technician

Wan Yee joined CRG in May 2012. Before this, she worked at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich after completing an MSc in Biotechnology at the University of East Anglia. Her research experience includes the studies of integrated biology of gastrointestinal tract and bacterial spore germination. Whilst at CRG she worked to develop a novel process for the production of specific chemical molecules from renewable feedstock.

Kelly Davidge

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Kelly joined the CRG in July 2012 from the University of Sheffield, where her research interests during her PhD and a Post Doc position included the use of carbon monoxide as an anti-microbial and microbial detoxification of gaseous molecules such as nitric oxide. Whilst at CRG she worked on the use of a particular species of Clostridia for the sustainable production of important industrial chemicals.

Jamie Jowett

Research Technician

Jamie graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2005 with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Biology. He then worked as an ecotoxicoligist before returning to the university in 2009 as a research technician within the institute of genetics, investigating the use of Schmidtea mediterrania as a model system for a small molecule drug screen programme. More recently he held positions in both research and teaching at the University of Nottingham veterinary school. Jamie joined the CRG in 2013. He is interested in toxin production, sporulation, germination and outgrowth ofClostridium difficile, and is currently working with novel antibiotics and their effects on spore germination and outgrowth.

Nimitray Joshi

PhD student

Nimit joined the Clostridia Research Group in 2010 after graduating from the University of Leicester with a Bsc (Hons) in Biological Sciences. Nimit's PhD involved isolating Small RNAs (sRNAs) within Clostridium difficile, sRNAs are a type of non coding RNA species which could be involved in the regulation of genes.

Wafaa Alhazmi

PhD student

Wafaa completed her BSc degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences at King AbdulAziz University in KSA before embarking on a Masters degree in Molecular Medical Microbiology at the University of Nottingham. In 2010 she joined the Clostridia Research Group as a PhD student. Her research was focused on the characterization of the oxidative stress response in Clostridium difficile and understanding the function of PerR regulator.

Wouter Kuit

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    See selected publications

Wouter worked on the Second generation, sustainable, bacterial biofuels programme of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. He is a molecular biologist with an interest in metabolic engineering and related fields. During his PhD he worked on Clostridium acetobutylicum with Dr. Ana Lopez-Contreras at the A&F institute (now FBR) of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR). Working both on genetic method development, metabolic engineering, and batch fermentation. He then continued to work with the same organism at the Laboratory of Microbiology (WUR) to develop a metabolomics protocol before joining CRG in January 2012. Whilst part of CRG, Wouter worked on generating new Clostridia strains with advantages properties such as high butanol production and selectivity.

Dr Daniela Heeg

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Daniela obtained a BSc (Honours) double degree in Applied Biology from UAS Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Germany, and Bioscience with Biomedical Sciences from Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, before joining the CRG as part of a EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network concerned with Clostridia (CLOSTNET). Her PhD focused on the discovery of novel factors involved in sporulation and germination of Clostridium difficile. She left CRG in September 2014 to join Micropathy Ltd. in Coventry at Warwick University.

Dr Mark Collery

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Mark joined the CRG in September 2009 and worked to develop rapid, point-of-care diagnostic assays for C. difficile and MRSA. His PhD involved the molecular genetic typing of human and animal isolates of Staphylococcus aureus. After this he studied the epidemiology of E. coli O157 and other serogroups in food animals. Mark left the CRG in June 2014.

James Millard

Research Technician

James joined CRG in June 2012. Prior to this, he completed an MSc in Biotechnology at the University of East Anglia. His research experience included the study of a novel biosynthetic gene cluster belonging to an antibiotic-producing member of the genus Streptomyces. While at Nottingham he worked towards developing a process for the sustainable production of certain industrial chemicals

Dr Holly Smith

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Holly was a Knowledge Transfer Partnership associate based at Green Biologics Ltd, where she is working to tag solventogenic species of Clostridia for industrial purposes. She is now fully employed by Green Biologics.

Carlos Da Silva Granja

Research Technician

Carlos joined in June 2012. He worked at Source Bioscience as a sequencing scientist where he perfomed Sanger sequencing and fragment analysis. He is a graduate of Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. At Nottingham, Carlos worked to develop a novel process for the production of specific chemical molecules from renewable feedstock. He left Nottingham Autumn 2013 to pursue a PhD at the University of Loughborough.

Dr Stephen Cartman

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    See selected publications

Stephen left the CRG group in 2013 to join Invista. Whislst here he was interested in spore forming bacteria and their role in gut health and disease.

Magdalena Fit

PhD student

Magda joined the Clostridia Research Group in October 2008 as a PhD student. Previously, she graduated from MSc in Molecular Medical Microbiology at The University of Nottingham. While here, she investiged mechanisms of iron uptake systems in Clostridium difficile. She left in April 2013, to join another group in the University.

David Walker

PhD student

David joined the CRG as a PhD student in 2007 after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc(Hons) degree. David’s PhD project focuses on the development and exploitation of mutational methods for the identification of essential clostridial genes (proteins) which may have potential as therapeutic targets. Prototype systems are targeting a gene (enzyme) previously suggested to be essential for cell viability. In parallel, the role of the encoded protein is being explored through heterologous expression and functional characterisation of the purified protein. David now works at Lanzatech, New Zealand.

Kim Chan

Technician

Kim graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2007 with a degree in Microbiology, before taking up employment in a local bioscience company where he became a Team Leader of Molecular Biology. He joined the CRG in Sept 2009, where he worked on an industrially funded contract concerned with developing countermeasures against Clostridium difficile.

Ann-Kathrin Kotte

PhD student

Ann-Kathrin was a graduate from the University of Dussledorf, Germany. She joined the CRG in 2009 as part of an EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network concerned with clostridial, biology CLOSTNET. Her PhD project was concerned with the discovery and functional analysis of signal molecules in the biobutanol organism, Clostridium acetobutylicum. Ann-Kathrin left Nottingham in October 2012.

Tom Bailey

PhD student

Tom was a PhD student whose research is focused on bacteriophage of Clostridium difficile. Numerous bacteriophage active against C. difficile have been identified over the last 25 years, including one shown to have therapeutic value in an animal model. Tom's work involves isolation and characterisation of lysogenic phage from clinical isolates of C. difficile and lytic phage from environmental sources. Tom left Nottingham in October 2012.

Dr Sara Jabbari

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sara Jabbari is a mathematician specialising in the modelling of gene regulation networks in bacteria. Having been awarded a Biomedical Informatics Fellowship from the MRC, she joined the CRG at Nottingham to undergo experimental training to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to uncovering mechanisms behind C. difficile infection. Sara will perform experimental work to complement her theoretical models which will investigate the effects of various signals upon C. difficile infection, in addition to both convential and novel therapies. She left Nottngha, tho go to the University of Birmingham in October 2012.

Dr Elisabeth Steiner

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Elisabeth joined the Clostridia Research Group in April 2009. Her research focused on the initiation of endospore formation in clostridia and the underlying signalling pathway.

Soza Baban

Former PhD student
sozy.baban@gmail.com

Soza Baban obtained her BSc degree in Microbiology with honors from the Univerisity of Salahaddin in Kurdistan Regional Government / Iraq and she worked as a research assistant for two years in the same area. Afterwards, she successfully obtained her Masters degree in Molecular Medical Microbiology at The University of Nottingham. She joined the Clostridia Research Group in September 2007 as a PhD student and is investigating the role of flagella and flagellum-mediated motility in Clostridium difficile virulence through ClosTron-mediated generation of specific mutants and their subsequent evaluation in a variety of in vitro and in vivo assays. She has now completed her PhD, and has returned to Iraq as a lecturer in Molecular Medical Biology.

Dr Sheryl Elizabeth Philip

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sheryl completed her PhD at the University of Westminster, London. Before moving to Nottingham, Sheryl worked at the John Innes Centre, Norwich for a brief period studying DNA gyrases in Arabidopsis thaliana. During her time at Notingham, Sheryl worked on a MRC funded project to develop novel therapeutic countermeasures against Clostrdium difficile.

Dr Rachel YK Ng

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

During her PhD studies, Rachel worked on the quorum sensing system of Yersinia enterocolitica, studying the role of quorum sensing in the virulence of the organism. Rachel is new to Clostridia research and is currently working on an EU-funded project to understand the physiological basis of ‘hypervirulence’ in Clostridium difficile. She is working on the generation of mutants in genes unique/divergent in the epidemic B1/NAP1/027 strains and analysis of the associated phenotypes.

Du Ran

Former PhD student

Dr David Burns

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    See selected publications

David joined the Clostridia Research Group as a PhD student in 2006 after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, focussing on the mechanisms of sporulation and germination in Clostridium difficile. He left the group in August 2011 and is now a medical writer with Pharmacom Media in London.

Dr Rasmus Jensen

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    See selected publications

Rasmus moved to the Clostridia Research Group in April 2009. During his PhD he worked on the molecular aspects of virulence regulation in Staphylococcus aureus. As a postdoc he worked on an industry-funded project with the aim of the development of therapeutic countermeasures against Clostridium difficile, before emigrating to New Zealand in August 2011 to work for Lanzatech.

Dr John Heap

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    See selected publications

John worked on development of the enabling technologies necessary for the construction of recombinant Clostridium strains, some of which are published. He then used these techniques to study pathogenic, therapeutic and industrial clostridia, focusing on engineering strains for biotechnology applications. In 2011 John moved to the Bayer lab in the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation at Imperial College London.

Dr Alexandra Faulds-Pain

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Alexandra.Faulds-Pain@lshtm.ac.uk    See selected publications

Alex worked in the Clostridia Research Group until March 2011 on a collaborative project with the Applied and Functional Genomics unit of the Health Protection Agency, Colindale. She now works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr Clare Cooksley

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    See selected publications

Clare worked in the Clostridia Research Group from September 2004 until September 2010. Whist she was with us she worked with the solventogenic Clostridium acetobutylicum. Prior to this project she carried out her PhD on Clostridium botulinum, focussing on the molecular mechanisms involved in spore and neurotoxin production. Clare is now a Research Assistant in the School of Medicine at Flinders University, Australia.

Dr Andrea Veit

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Andrea worked on bacterial biofuel production from 2009 until 2010. Her aim was to improve butanol formation in Clostridium acetobutylicum by means of metabolic engineering funded by BBSRC and industry. Andrea is now a Researcher at Fraunhofer Organisation, Germany.

Benjamin Blount

Former PhD student

Ben undertook an industrially funded PhD between 2006 and 2010 centred on the regulation and function of the flagellum in Clostridium botulinum, an organism of particular interest due to its highly potent neurotoxin. Ben is now a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, Imperial College, London http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/syntheticbiology

Manisha Patel

Former PhD student

Manisha was a PhD student between 2006 and 2010 whose research is focused on the regulation of virulence factors in Clostridium difficile and in particular Agr Quorum Sensing system. Prior to starting her PhD, Manisha completed an MSc in Molecular Medical Microbiology at The University of Nottingham.

Dr Gemma Marsden

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Gemma.Marsden@northampton.ac.uk

Gemma worked in the CRG from 2008 until 2009 working on a European FP6 project concerned with the development of molecular diagnostics for the rapid detection of Clostridium difficile. She moved briefly to the Pharmacy School, London, before taking up a lectureship at the University of Northampton in 2010.

Dr Oliver Pennington

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Oliver Pennington undertook a PhD in the CRG between 2002 and 2005 concerned with ethdevelopment of strains useful in Clostridial-Directed Enzyme Prodrug Therapy, funded by an FP6 European grant. Following the successful award of his PhD he became a Post-doctoral Research Assistant within the CRG working on a BBSRC funded project concerned with the initiation of sporulation in Clostridium botulinum. Oliver left academia in 2008 to become a school teacher.

Dr Ian Davis

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow
ian.davis@eu.effem.com

Ian joined the CRG in 2002, and worked on a number of projects concerned with the development of gene systems for use in a number of different Clostridium sp., including Clostridium ifficile (BBSRC and EU) and Clostridium botulinum (NIH). He left the group in 2008 and is now a Project Scientist in Oral Health at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.

Dr Glen Carter

Former PhD student
Glen.Carter@med.monash.edu.au

Glen Carter undertook a PhD studentship jointly funded by the University of Nottingham and the Centre for Applied Microbiology & Research between 2002 and 2005 concerned with the development of genetic systems for use in Clostridium difficile. Following a short period of post-doctoral study, in 2006 Glen moved to the Department of Microbiology, Monash University, Australia