Professional summary

Research Interests

I have over 25 years of experience in research, analytical and developmental expertise in mass spectrometric and isotopic techniques. My doctorate thesis (University of Newcastle 1990-1994, NRG Fossil Fuels & Environmental Geochemistry) developed micro-scale methods for biological marker analysis from petroleum source rocks and then determined reaction kinetics of biomarker release and degradation to aid kinetic modelling in petroleum reservoirs. From 1994-1999 I spent 5 years of my career as a Research associate in the Dept. of Chemistry at Bristol University where my interests in isotopes and related instrumentation were initiated. Here I developed a unique approach to using cholesterol as an isotopic biomarker for assessing palaeodiet in ancient organisms. I then went on to develop the UK’s first successful programme of 14C radiocarbon dating of individual molecules using a combination of preparative gas chromatography technologies and AMS dating. Since 1999 I have overseen the management and operation of the NERC Scientific Facilities and Technology, Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Lancster node at Lancaster, based with the Centralised Chemistry Department of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster. I have developed and applied a wide range of light stable isotopic and mass spectrometric techniques to the terrestrial and freshwater ecology field using both natural abundance and tracer isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen i.e. 13C/12C and 15N/14N specifically relating to carbon and nitrogen cycling in natural ecosystems. My specialism is compound specific isotope ratio mass spectrometry techniques also known as Gas Chromatography/Combustion/Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry to measure delta 13C values of individual phospholipid fatty acid methyl esters (PLFA’s). I have worked on a wide range of applications to the use of stable isotopes in terrestrial environments, having supported several NERC funded research grants, and CASE studentships awards researching ecosystem functioning. My role as LSMSF node manager has allowed me to train visiting students from academic institutes in isotope specific techniques. Internally I overseen , in a part supervisory role, the isotope related segments of several CEH PhD students. I have authored and co-authored over 57 papers including two in Nature Climate Change and Science.   

Brief CV

1999-present                  Facility Manager (NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility, CEH Lancaster)

1994-1998                      University of Bristol (School of Chemistry) Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility Bristol

1990-1994                      University of Newcastle upon Tyne (Fossil Fuels & Environmental Geochemistry)

1987-1990                      University of Newcastle upon Tyne (Dept of Geology)



PhD in Organic Geochemistry (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)

BSc.(Hons) Geology (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)