Dr Sophie Nixon

NERC Research Fellow

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My research interests centre on the diversity, function and adaptation of microbial life in the deep terrestrial habitats, spanning pristine and engineered subsurface environments on Earth, and the potential for life on other planetary bodies. I combine high-pressure subsurface simulation with genomic tools and geochemistry to understand the role of microbiology in these extreme environments. Particular areas of interest are the roles of microbial communities in hydraulically fractured shale environments and geological CO2 storage repositories. I am especially interested in how negetaive 'biofouling' processes (bioclogging, souring, unwanted biogenic gas production etc) can be attenuated, and ways in which positive processes (such as enhanced CO2 sequestration and conversion of CO2 into useful products) can be promoted using biotechnology. Fundamental to these research interests is the quest to understand how microorganisms cooperate with one another and function as consortia, and in particular how metabolic interdependencies drive these positive and negative processes. 

Research Networks and Beacons

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains


  • Microbiology, Deep terrestrial subsurface, Carbon cycling, Microbial ecology, Biofouling, Biotechnology

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2014 - Doctor of Philosophy, Microbial iron reduction on Earth and Mars, University of Edinburgh

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