I am a QUB DTP student interested in the molecular mechanisms that underpin the survival of some of the most extremophilic microorganisms. My PhD focuses on phosphorus metabolism within the archaea, a unique group of extremophilic organisms. I am interested in studying novel energy metabolisms within these archaea using bioinformatics, biochemistry and molecular biology techniques. I hope to further our understanding of the vital roles these microorganisms play in the cycling of nutrients within key ecosystems.
Archaea are often considered to be similar to the earliest and most primitive organisms on Earth, living in extremophillic environments likely analogous to the early earth. Therefore, understanding the molecular pathways keeping these organisms alive has wide-ranging implications for origins of life and astrobiology research. I hope research into archaeal metabolisms will further our understanding of the origins and history of energy metabolism and even help identify the requirements and habitats of potential extraterrestrial life.
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