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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Dispirito, A. A., Semrau, J. D., Murrell, J. C., Gallagher, W. H., Dennison, C., Vuilleumier, S.

(2016)

Methanobactin and the Link Between Copper and Bacterial Methane Oxidation

in Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews

80.

pp. 387-409

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Nesme, J., Achouak, W., Agathos, S., Bailey, M., Baldrian, P., Brunel, D., Frostegard, A., Heulin, T., Jansson, J. K., Jurkevitch, E., Kowalchuk, G. A., Kruus, K. L., Lagares, A., Lapin-Scott, H. M., Le Paslier, D., Mandic-Mulec, I., Murrell, C., Myrold, D. D., Nalin, R., Nannipieri, P., Neufeld, J. D., O'Gara, F., Parnell, J. J., Puhler, A., Pylro, V., Ramos, J. L., Roesch, L., Schleper, C., Schloter, M., Sczyrba, A., Sessitsch, A., Sjoling, S., Sorensen, J., Sorensen, S. J., Tebbe, C. C., Topp, E., Tsiamis, G., Van Elsas, J. D., Van Keulen, G., Wagner, M., Widmer, F., Zhang, T., Zhang, X., Zhao, L., Zhu, Y., Vogel, T. M., Simonet, P.

(2016)

Back to the future of soil metagenomics

in Frontiers in Microbiology

7.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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)


Flynn, J. D., Hirayama, H., Sakai, Y., Dunfield, P. F., Klotz, M. G., Knief, C., Op Den Camp, H. J. M., Jetten, M. S. M., Khmelenina, V. N., Trotsenko, Y. A., Murrell, J. C., Semrau, J. D., Svenning, M. M., Stein, L. Y., Kyrpides, N., Shapiro, N., Woyke, T., Bringel, F., Vuilleumier, S., Dispirito, A. A., Kalyuzhnaya, M. G.

(2016)

Draft Genome Sequences of Gammaproteobacterial Methanotrophs Isolated from Marine Ecosystems

in Genome Announcements

4.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Esson, K. C., Lin, X., Kumaresan, D., Chanton, J. P., Murrell, J. C., Kostka, J. E.

(2016)

Alpha- and Gammaproteobacterial Methanotrophs Codominate the Active Methane-Oxidizing Communities in an Acidic Boreal Peat Bog

in Applied and Environmental Microbiology

82.

pp. 2363-2371

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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)


Vita, N., Platsaki, S., Baslé, A., Allen, S. J., Paterson, N. G., Crombie, A. T., Murrell, J. C., Waldron, K. J., Dennison, C.

(2015)

A four-helix bundle stores copper for methane oxidation

in Nature

525.

pp. 140–143

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Crombie, A. T., Khawand, M. E., Rhodius, V. A., Fengler, K. A., Miller, M. C., Whited, G. M., Mcgenity, T. J., Murrell, J. C.

(2015)

Regulation of plasmid-encoded isoprene metabolism in Rhodococcus, a representative of an important link in the global isoprene cycle

in Environmental Microbiology

17.

pp. 3314-3329

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Lidbury, I., Kimberley, G., Scanlan, D. J., Murrell, J. C., Chen, Y.

(2015)

Comparative genomics and mutagenesis analyses of choline metabolism in the marine Roseobacter clade

in Environmental Microbiology

17.

pp. 5048-5062

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Kumaresan, D., Wischer, D., Hillebrand-voiculescu, A. M., Murrell, J. C.

(2015)

Draft Genome Sequences of Facultative Methylotrophs, Gemmobacter sp. Strain LW1 and Mesorhizobium sp. Strain 1M-11, Isolated from Movile Cave, Romania

in Genome Announcements

3.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Mcnamara, N. P., Gregg, R., Oakley, S., Stott, A., Rahman, M. T., Murrell, J. C., Wardle, D. A., Bardgett, R. D., Ostle, N. J., Lehman, R. M. (ed.)

(2015)

Soil Methane Sink Capacity Response to a Long-Term Wildfire Chronosequence in Northern Sweden

in PLoS ONE

10.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Islam, T., Larsen, Ø., Torsvik, V., Øvreås, L., Panosyan, H., Murrell, J., Birkeland, N., Bodrossy, L.

(2015)

Novel Methanotrophs of the Family Methylococcaceae from Different Geographical Regions and Habitats

in Microorganisms

3.

pp. 484-499

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Dedysh, S. N., Naumoff, D. G., Vorobev, A. V., Kyrpides, N., Woyke, T., Shapiro, N., Crombie, A. T., Murrell, J. C., Kalyuzhnaya, M. G., Smirnova, A. V., Dunfield, P. F.

(2015)

Draft Genome Sequence of Methyloferula stellata AR4, an Obligate Methanotroph Possessing Only a Soluble Methane Monooxygenase

in Genome Announcements

3.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2015)

Bacterial metabolism of methylated amines and identification of novel methylotrophs in Movile Cave

in The ISME Journal

9.

pp. 195-206

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)


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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

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