Biography

Colin Murrell is a Professor in Environmental Microbiology in the School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Earth and Life Systems Alliance (ELSA) on the Norwich Research Park.  He has wide ranging research interests centered around the microbiology of atmospheric trace gases such as methane, dimethyl sulfide, methyl halides and isoprene and the metabolism of one carbon compounds (methanol, methylamines, methanesulfonate) in the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environment.  Other areas of research include the microbiology of the rhizosphere, sea-surface microlayer, caves, alkaline soda lakes, saltmarshes, cold water corals and cultural heritage microbiology, regulation of gene expression by metals, microbial genomics, metagenomics, bioremediation, biocatalysis and industrial biotechnology.  His research over the past 35 years has resulted in around 280 publications and six edited books with funding from NERC, BBSRC, EU, Royal Society, British Council, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, SGM, SfAM.

Murrell's work is multidisciplinary and ranges from the isolation of microbes that are involved in major biogeochemical cycles (C, N, C, metals) through to their characterisation at the physiological, biochemical, molecular and ecological levels.  He has also pioneered the use of molecular ecology techniques such as functional gene probing and DNA Stable Isotope Probing to determine "which microbes are doing what in the environment", particularly in the context of global biogeochemical carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles.

Murrell interacts with soil and plant scientists, oceanographers, limnologists, speleologists, marine chemists, modellers and industry through his research and in his role as Director of ELSA, he has initiated projects with plant and climate scientists across the Norwich Research Park.  Murrell also has experience of working with industry, outreach projects and reviewing for many research councils and is currently a member of the NERC Peer Review College.  He is an editorial board member for Environmental Microbiology, The ISME Journal and FEMS Microbiology Letters and a member of the Societies for General Microbiology, The Society for Applied Microbiology and the International Society for Microbial Ecology.


Elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2014

Elected Vice President of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) in 2014 (President in 2016)

Elected Chair Gordon Research Conference on Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2015

Awarded Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellowship for Distinguished Scientists for 2015

 

Murrell has had around 50 PhD students graduate from his laboratory and has supervised over 100 postdoctoral fellows, technicians and visiting researchers and considers postgraduate training as one of his most important roles in research.  He has also worked closely with a number of PhD CASE partners including PML, CEH, and biotechnology/oil companies, has consulted for a number of companies on the use of methanotrophs and methylotrophs in biotechnology and has been examiner for around 90 PhD students in the UK and worldwide.
 
Murrell welcomes applications throughout the year from potential PhD candidates for available positions or from candidates who have their own funding or wish to apply for this.  Additionally, he has hosted a number of Independent Research Fellows and welcomes enquiries from suitably qualified individuals.

For full details on Research in Colin Murrell's lab, publications etc., please visit the web site:

Lab web page: www.jcmurrell.co.uk

ISI Web of Knowledge Researcher ID: www.researcherid.com/rid/B-1443-2012

For further information on the Earth and Life Systems Alliance, please visit: www.elsa.ac.uk

Website: http://www.jcmurrell.co.uk/

Career History

  • 1975 - 1978, BSc Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Southampton
  • 1978 - 1981, PhD on "Nitrogen metabolism in ethane oxidising bacteria", University of Warwick
  • 1981 - 1983, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, "Molecular genetics of methylotrophic bacteria"
  • 1983 - 2011, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Professor in Microbiology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick
  • 2012, Professor in Environmental Microbiology, School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Earth and Life Systems Alliance, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park

 

Lab Web Page: www.jcmurrell.co.uk

Publications: www.researcherid.com/rid/B-1443-2012

All Publications

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Howat, A. M., Vollmers, J., Taubert, M., Grob, C., Dixon, J. L., Todd, J. D., Chen, Y., Kaster, A., Murrell, J. C.

(2018)

Comparative Genomics and Mutational Analysis Reveals a Novel XoxF-Utilizing Methylotroph in the Roseobacter Group Isolated From the Marine Environment,

in Frontiers in Microbiology

9

article no. 766

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


McGenity, T. J., Crombie, A. T., Murrell, J. C.

(2018)

Microbial cycling of isoprene, the most abundantly produced biological volatile organic compound on Earth,

in The ISME Journal

12

(4)

pp. 931–941

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wagstaff, B. A., Hems, E. S., Rejzek, M., Pratscher, J., Brooks, E., Kuhaudomlarp, S., O'Neill, E. C., Donaldson, M. I., Lane, S., Currie, J., Hindes, A. M., Malin, G., Murrell, J. C., Field, R. A.

(2018)

Insights into toxic Prymnesium parvum blooms: the role of sugars and algal viruses,

in Biochemical Society Transactions

46

(2)

pp. 413-421

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wang, J., Geng, K., Farhan Ul Haque, M., Crombie, A., Street, L. E., Wookey, P. A., Ma, K., Murrell, J. C., Pratscher, J.

(2018)

Draft Genome Sequence of Methylocella silvestris TVC, a Facultative Methanotroph Isolated from Permafrost,

in Genome Announcements

6

(8)

article no. e00040-18

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Bellini, M. I., Kumaresan, D., Tarlera, S., Murrell, J. C., Scavino, A. F.

(2018)

Identification of active denitrifiers by DNA-Stable Isotope Probing and amplicon sequencing reveals Betaproteobacteria as responsible for attenuation of nitrate contamination in a low impacted aquifer,

in FEMS Microbiology Ecology

94

(2)

article no. fix181

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Kumaresan, D., Stephenson, J., Doxey, A. C., Bandukwala, H., Brooks, E., Hillebrand-Voiculescu, A., Whiteley, A. S., Murrell, J. C.

(2018)

Aerobic proteobacterial methylotrophs in Movile Cave: genomic and metagenomic analyses,

in Microbiome

6

article no. 1

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Crombie, A. T., Mejia-Florez, N. L., McGenity, T. J., Murrell, J. C.

(2017)

Genetics and Ecology of Isoprene Degradation,

in Aerobic Utilization of Hydrocarbons, Oils and Lipids.

Springer International Publishing AG

Full Text UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Crombie, A. T., Emery, H., McGenity, T. J., Murrell, J. C.

(2017)

Draft Genome Sequences of Three Terrestrial Isoprene-Degrading Rhodococcus Strains,

in Genome Announcements

5

(45)

article no. e01256-17

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Carrión, O., Pratscher, J., Curson, A. R., Williams, B. T., Rostant, W. G., Murrell, J. C., Todd, J. D.

(2017)

Methanethiol-dependent dimethylsulfide production in soil environments,

in The ISME Journal

11

(10)

pp. 2379–2390

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Kolb, S., Horn, M. A., Murrell, J. C., Knief, C.

(2017)

Editorial: The Impact of Microorganisms on Consumption of Atmospheric Trace Gases,

in Frontiers in Microbiology

8

article no. 1856

Full Text

(Editorial)

(Published)


Johnston, A., Crombie, A. T., El Khawand, M., Sims, L., Whited, G. M., McGenity, T. J., Murrell, J. C.

(2017)

Identification and characterisation of isoprene-degrading bacteria in an estuarine environment,

in Environmental Microbiology

19

(9)

pp. 3526–3537

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Frindte, K., Kalyuzhnaya, M. G., Bringel, F., Dunfield, P. F., Jetten, M. S. M., Khmelenina, V. N., Klotz, M. G., Murrell, J. C., Op den Camp, H. J. M., Sakai, Y., Semrau, J. D., Shapiro, N., DiSpirito, A. A., Stein, L. Y., Svenning, M. M., Trotsenko, Y. A., Vuilleumier, S., Woyke, T., Knief, C.

(2017)

Draft Genome Sequences of Two Gammaproteobacterial Methanotrophs Isolated from Rice Ecosystems,

in Genome Announcements

5

(33)

article no. e00526-17

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Lock, M., Nichol, T., Murrell, J. C., Smith, T. J.

(2017)

Mutagenesis and expression of methane monooxygenase to alter regioselectivity with aromatic substrates,

in FEMS Microbiology Letters

364

(13)

article no. fnx137

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Taubert, M., Grob, C., Howat, A. M., Burns, O. J., Pratscher, J., Jehmlich, N., von Bergen, M., Richnow, H. H., Chen, Y., Murrell, J. C.

(2017)

Methylamine as a nitrogen source for microorganisms from a coastal marine environment,

in Environmental Microbiology

19

(6)

pp. 2246–2257

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Stephenson, J., Kumaresan, D., Hillebrand-Voiculescu, A. M., Brooks, E., Whiteley, A. S., Murrell, J. C.

(2017)

Draft Genome Sequence of the Methane-Oxidizing Bacterium “Candidatus Methylomonas sp. LWB” Isolated from Movile Cave,

in Genome Announcements

5

(3)

article no. e01491-16

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Song, Y., Kaster, A., Vollmers, J., Song, Y., Davison, P. A., Frentrup, M., Preston, G. M., Thompson, I. P., Murrell, J. C., Yin, H., Hunter, C. N., Huang, W. E.

(2017)

Single-cell genomics based on Raman sorting reveals novel carotenoid-containing bacteria in the Red Sea,

in Microbial Biotechnology

10

(1)

pp. 125–137

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Holmes, N. A., Innocent, T. M., Heine, D., Al-Bassam, M., Worsley, S. F., Trottman, F., Patrick, E. H., Yu, D. W., Murrell, J. C., Schiott, M., Wilkinson, B., Boomsma, J. J., Hutchings, M. I.

(2016)

Genome analysis of two Pseudonocardia phylotypes associated with Acromyrmex leafcutter ants reveals their biosynthetic potential,

in Frontiers in Microbiology

7

article no. 2073

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Jameson, E., Taubert, M., Coyotzi, S., Chen, Y., Eyice, Ö., Schäfer, H., Murrell, J. C., Neufeld, J. D., Dumont, M. G.

(2016)

DNA-, RNA-, and Protein-Based Stable-Isotope Probing for High-Throughput Biomarker Analysis of Active Microorganisms,

in Metagenomics : Methods and Protocols.

Springer New York

pp. 57-74

ISBN 978-1-4939-6689-9

Full Text UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Coyotzi, S., Pratscher, J., Murrell, J. C., Neufeld, J. D.

(2016)

Targeted metagenomics of active microbial populations with stable-isotope probing,

in Current Opinion in Biotechnology

41

pp. 1-8

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Jameson, E., Doxey, A. C., Airs, R., Purdy, K. J., Murrell, J. C., Chen, Y.

(2016)

Metagenomic data-mining reveals contrasting microbial populations responsible for trimethylamine formation in human gut and marine ecosystems,

in Microbial Genomics

2

article no. 9

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


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Key Research Interests

Colin Murrell is a Professor in Environmental Microbiology in the School of Environmental Sciences and Director of the Earth and Life Systems Alliance (ELSA) on the Norwich Research Park.  He has wide ranging research interests centered around the microbiology of atmospheric trace gases such as methane, dimethyl sulfide, methyl halides and isoprene and the metabolism of one carbon compounds (methanol, methylamines, methanesulfonate) in the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environment.  Other areas of research include the microbiology of the rhizosphere, sea-surface microlayer, caves, alkaline soda lakes, saltmarshes, cold water corals and cultural heritage microbiology, regulation of gene expression by metals, microbial genomics, metagenomics, bioremediation, biocatalysis and industrial biotechnology.  His research over the past 35 years has resulted in around 280 publications and six edited books with funding from NERC, BBSRC, EU, Royal Society, British Council, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, SGM, SfAM.

Murrell's work is multidisciplinary and ranges from the isolation of microbes that are involved in major biogeochemical cycles (C, N, C, metals) through to their characterisation at the physiological, biochemical, molecular and ecological levels.  He has also pioneered the use of molecular ecology techniques such as functional gene probing and DNA Stable Isotope Probing to determine "which microbes are doing what in the environment", particularly in the context of global biogeochemical carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles. Murrell interacts with soil and plant scientists, oceanographers, limnologists, speleologists, marine chemists, modellers and industry through his research and in his role as Director of ELSA, he has initiated projects with plant and climate scientists across the Norwich Research Park. 

Research Opportunities
Murrell welcomes applications throughout the year from potential PhD candidates for available positions or from candidates who have their own funding or wish to apply for this.  Additionally, he has hosted a number of Independent Research Fellows and welcomes enquiries from suitably qualified individuals.

For full details on Research in Colin Murrell's lab, publications etc., please visit the web site:

Lab web page: www.jcmurrell.co.uk

ISI Web of Knowledge Researcher ID: www.researcherid.com/rid/B-1443-2012

For further information on the Earth and Life Systems Alliance, please visit: www.elsa.ac.uk

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Teaching Interests

  • Environmental Microbiology

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Board Member for Environmental Microbiology 2004 to present
  • Editorial Board Member for The ISME Journal 2005 to present
  • Editorial Board Member for FEMS Microbiology Letters 2005 to present
  • Member of NERC Peer Review College 2006 to present
  • Vice Chair for the Gordon Research Conference on Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2013
  • Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2015

Key Responsibilities