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Dr. Robin Dawson

I am an environmental microbiologist who is fascinated by the contribution of bacteria to global biogeochemical cycles. My research interests primarily relate to the elucidation of metabolic pathways, as I believe that it is essential to understand the genetic and biochemical underpinnings of microbial processes in nature. Having spent five years studying the metabolism of isoprene in bacteria, I am experienced in physiological and biochemical studies of environmental isolates. I have also developed genetics systems which permitted specific gene knockouts, a key part of understanding metabolic pathways. 


Now, I have joined the Hernández lab with the aim of enriching and isolating CO-degrading bacteria from the class Ktedonobacteria from volcanic soils. The Ktedonobacteria are highly abundant in early, unvegetated volcanic soils and metagenome evidence suggests the ability of these bacteria to utilise CO and H2 during early soil development. Using genetic and biochemical techniques, I aim to further our understanding of the ability of these bacteria to contribute to early colonisation of volcanic cinders following eruption events. A further aim of this project is to identify and study the active CO-oxidising community in volcanic soils through cultivation-independent methods. Collectively, work conducted in this project will provide valuable insights into the key players which drive CO uptake in some of the most fertile soils on Earth.


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