Associated researchers

Dr. Mark Hartl

Dr Mark G J Hartl is an Associate Professor of Marine Biology, specialising in Marine Ecotoxicology in the Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology (CMBB), Institute of Life and Earth Sciences, at Heriot-Watt University. He is also Director of the CMBB and Director of Studies for the MSc cluster in Marine, Environment and Climate Change (http://www.hw.ac.uk/marinemsc).  Dr Hartl represents the Marine Alliance for Science & technology, Scotland (MASTS) on the Scottish Government’s Marine Litter Advisory Group Steering Committee and leads the MASTS Stressors Forum (http://www.masts.ac.uk/research/research-forums/marine-stressors-forum/). He received an MSc from the University of Vienna (1996) in Biology (Zoology/Marine Ecology) and a PhD from the University of Southampton (2000). Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship at University College Cork (2001-2006), he took up a position as Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He was president of the Physiology Section of the American Fisheries Society (2010-2012) and served on the Environmental Pollution Review Panel for FORMAS (2011-2014).

Mark’s research interests include the ecophysiology of benthic organisms, the effects of anthropogenic activity on community structure and the fate of organic and inorganic pollutants in the marine and estuarine environment. Recent research activity has focused on sediment-associated organotin compounds and oilfield chemicals, bioaccumulation capacity of clams for metals and importance of exposure history, the potential impact of manufactured nanoparticles and microplastic contamination on the marine environment, as well as the effect of climate change on ecotoxicological biomarkers of contaminant exposure and effect. My current research projects are focussed on the impacts of deep-sea mining, anthropogenic noise, nanomaterials and microplastics in the marine environment.

Email: M. Hartl@hw.ac.uk

Laboratory webpage: http://markhartl.hw.ac.uk

Professor Ted Henry

Theodore (Ted) Henry is a Professor of Environmental Toxicology and joined Heriot-Watt University on the global platform for research leaders in 2013.  He received a Bachelor of Arts (1992) in Aquatic Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara, and subsequently worked as a fisheries extension/rural community development agent in the Akebou region of Togo West Africa as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (1992-1994).  He received a Master of Science (1998) from the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University (AL) with thesis research on the aquatic toxicology of acid mine drainage mixing zones in warmwater streams.  His doctoral research in the Fish Disease Laboratory at Auburn University investigated fish pathology associated with exposure to electric fields.  He investigated the ecotoxicology of pharmaceutical substances as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA; and his first academic position was at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.  In 2008, he went to the UK as a Research Council of the UK Academic Fellow leading to a Readership appointment at the University of Plymouth. 

Email: T.Henry@hw.ac.uk

Laboratory webpage: http://epaquatic.org/

Dr. Tony Gutierrez

Tony  is Associate Professor of Environmental Microbiology & Biotechnology at Heriot-Watt University and holds a PhD in environmental microbiology from the University of New South Wales, Australia. Tony joined Heriot-Watt in January of 2012 following significant contributions to understanding the microbial response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the occurrence and function of oil-degrading microorganisms in the ocean, as well as work into harnessing these organisms and their products for biotechnological applications, with a focus on bio-surfactants. In 2008, he was awarded a Marie Curie Research Fellowship which he undertook at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) and University of Lancaster to explore the occurrence, distribution and functions of oil-degrading bacteria in the global ocean. He was the first scientist to successfully apply DNA-based stable-isotope probing (DNA-SIP) to investigate and reveal the diversity of key bacteria involved in degrading petrochemical pollutants in different ocean systems. He also published the first report coupling this method with whole-metagenome reconstruction of 13C-labelled whole-community DNA to reveal previously undiscovered microbial species, their metabolic pathways and whole-community synergies involved in the breakdown of the oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Since joining Heriot-Watt, he created the first Microbial Observatory for the northeast Atlantic which now acts as a microbial baseline and reference to assess for microbial community changes under a future ocean and in the event of major anthropogenic perturbations, such oil spills, in this region. During his time at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tony isolated and created a large collection of marine hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial strains (>1000), which he maintains in cryostorage and from which he discovered novel species and genera, including one new family, of oil-degrading and bio-surfactant producing bacteria. This strain collection formed the foundation of a Horizon-2020 project for which Tony was the Scientific Manager and co-Coordinator leading on the discovery of novel bio-surfactants for commercial applications. This led to the discovery of several novel bio-surfactant-producing, non-pathogenic bacteria, some of which produce rhamnolipids.

Tony is recognised as the UK’s expert on the microbial response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is called upon by the BBC and other media for interview/comment when a major marine oil spill occurs in the world. He currently sits on, or Chairs, a number of international funding committees and is a serving member on the MASTS Oil & Gas Forum SG Committee, and executive board member for the BBSRC EBNet (Environmental Biotechnology Network) where he also serves as co-Chair of the Pollutants & Media theme. His recent publication record shows senior authorship in prominent microbiology, environmental science and interdisciplinary international Journals with trans-national and industry partner co-authors. Current research activity spans fundamental science to translation of research findings into real-world applications, and he has active PI funding of over £6.5M. Outputs from Tony’s lab have contributed to the filing of an international patent related to commercialising marine bacterial bio-surfactants. Working with an SME resulted in more than tripling their sales and income profits, and in securing joint developments with larger multi-national industry stakeholders. Tony has published just shy of 100 peer-reviewed articles and given presentations (incl. keynotes) in over 60 international conferences and he is a passionate public engagement advocate.

Email: T.Gutierrez@hw.ac.uk

Laboratory webpage: http://www.tony-gutierrez.com