Ornella Carrion Fonseca
Senior Research Associate
My interest in Microbiology drove me to study a degree in Biology and an MSc in Microbiology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. During my PhD at the University of Barcelona, I characterized Antarctic bacteria that produced dimethylsulfide (DMS) through a novel biosynthetic pathway. DMS is an environmentally important gas due to its role in the global sulfur cycle, for being a potent chemoattractant for higher organisms and its potential effects on climate regulation. My early post-doctoral research, in Jonathan Todd’s lab at the University of East Anglia, focused on investigating the activity of this novel DMS-producing pathway in different environments to assess its contribution to the global DMS emissions.
In my current project in the Murrell lab I study bacterial metabolism of another important trace gas, isoprene. Despite isoprene being emitted to the atmosphere in similar amounts to methane and having a significant impact on atmospheric chemistry, very little is known about its biogeochemical cycling. My role in this project will be to study the abundance, diversity and activity of isoprene degraders in the environment to assess the impact that microbes have in mitigating the effects of this important climate-active gas.