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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Lidbury, I. D., Murrell, J. C., Chen, Y.

(2015)

Trimethylamine and trimethylamine N-oxide are supplementary energy sources for a marine heterotrophic bacterium: implications for marine carbon and nitrogen cycling

in The ISME Journal

9.

pp. 760-769

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Sigdel, S., Hui, G., Smith, T. J., Murrell, J. C., Lee, J.

(2015)

Molecular dynamics simulation to rationalize regioselective hydroxylation of aromatic substrates by soluble methane monooxygenase

in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters

25.

pp. 1611-1615

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2014)

Trace-gas metabolic versatility of the facultative methanotroph Methylocella silvestris

in Nature

510.

pp. 148–151

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Kumaresan, D., Wischer, D., Stephenson, J., Hillebrand-Voiculescu, A., Murrell, J. C.

(2014)

Microbiology of Movile Cave - A Chemolithoautotrophic Ecosystem

in Geomicrobiology Journal

31.

pp. 186-193

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Lidbury, I., Murrell, C., Chen, Y.

(2014)

Trimethylamine N-oxide metabolism by abundant marine heterotrophic bacteria

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)

111.

pp. 2710-2715

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Wischer, D., Kumaresan, D., Johnston, A., El Khawand, M., Stephenson, J., Hillebrand-Voiculescu, A., Chen, Y., Murrell, C.

(2014)

Identification and characterization of active methylamine degrading bacteria in Movile Cave

in The ISME Journal

9.

pp. 195-206

UEA Repository

(Article)


Dixon, J. L., Sargeant, S., Nightingale, P. D., Murrell, C.

(2013)

Gradients in microbial methanol uptake : productive coastal upwelling waters to oligotrophic gyres in the Atlantic Ocean

in The ISME Journal

7.

pp. 568-80

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Nazaries, L., Murrell, J. C., Millard, P., Baggs, L., Singh, B. K., Models, Theoretical

(2013)

Methane, microbes and models : fundamental understanding of the soil methane cycle for future predictions

in Environmental Microbiology

15.

pp. 2395-2417

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Semrau, J. D., Jagadevan, S., Dispirito, A. A., Khalifa, A., Scanlan, J., Bergman, B. H., Freemeier, B. C., Baral, B. S., Bandow, N. L., Vorobev, A., Haft, D. H., Vuilleumier, S., Murrell, J. C.

(2013)

Methanobactin and MmoD work in concert to act as the 'copper-switch' in methanotrophs

in Environmental Microbiology

15.

pp. 3077-3086

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Paul Antony, C., Kumaresan, D., Hunger, S., Drake, H. L., Murrell, C., Shouche, Y. S.

(2013)

Microbiology of Lonar Lake and other soda lakes

in The ISME Journal

7.

pp. 1252-1252

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Boden, R., Cleland, D., Green, P., Katayama, Y., Uchino, Y., Murrell, J., Kelly, D.

(2012)

Phylogenetic assessment of culture collection strains of Thiobacillus thioparus, and definitive 16S rRNA gene sequences for T. thioparus, T. denitrificans, and Halothiobacillus neapolitanus

in Archives of Microbiology

194.

pp. 187-195

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Boden, R., Murrell, J.

(2011)

Response to mercury (II) ions in Methylococcus capsulatus (Bath)

in FEMS Microbiology Letters

324.

pp. 106-110

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Chen, Y., Patel, N., Crombie, A., Scrivens, J., Murrell, J.

(2011)

Bacterial flavin-containing monooxygenase is trimethylamine monooxygenase

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

108.

pp. 17791-17796

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Kumaresan, D., Stralis-Pavese, N., Abell, G., Bodrossy, L., Murrell, J.

(2011)

Physical disturbance to ecological niches created by soil structure alters community composition of methanotrophs

in Environmental Microbiology Reports

3.

pp. 613-621

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Boden, R., Murrell, J., Schäfer, H.

(2011)

Dimethylsulfide is an energy source for the heterotrophic marine bacterium Sagittula stellata

in FEMS Microbiology Letters

322.

pp. 188-193

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Rahman, M., Crombie, A., Moussard, H., Chen, Y., Murrell, J.

(2011)

Acetate Repression of Methane Oxidation by Supplemental Methylocella silvestris in a Peat Soil Microcosm

in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

77.

pp. 4234-4236

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Boden, R., Borodina, E., Wood, A., Kelly, D., Murrell, J., Schafer, H.

(2011)

Purification and Characterization of Dimethylsulfide Monooxygenase from Hyphomicrobium sulfonivorans

in Journal of Bacteriology

193.

pp. 1250-1258

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Cunliffe, M., Upstill-Goddard, R., Murrell, J.

(2011)

Microbiology of aquatic surface microlayers

in FEMS Microbiology Reviews

35.

pp. 233-246

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Cébron, A., Louvel, B., Faure, P., France-Lanord, C., Chen, Y., Murrell, J., Leyval, C.

(2011)

Root exudates modify bacterial diversity of phenanthrene degraders in PAH-polluted soil but not phenanthrene degradation rates

in Environmental Microbiology

13.

pp. 722-736

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Murrell, J. (ed.), Whiteley, A. (ed.)

(2011)

Stable Isotope Probing and Related Technologies

American Society for Microbiology Press

ISBN 978-1-55581-537-0

UEA Repository

(Book)


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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