Nitrogen is the basis of life as we know it – forming a major component of DNA, protein and nucleic acids. The global cycling of nitrogen is mediated by microorganisms that inhabit every corner of the Earth. The factors which drive the distribution and growth of these key microorganisms in the modern oceans remain elusive – yet is central in order to clarify how such microbes have evolved over geologic time and how they may respond in an ocean perturbed by anthropogenic activity.
My research combines Chemistry, Biology and the Earth Sciences – I am interested in understanding how fine tuned N-cycling microbes are to their chemical environment. Specifically, I cultivate the recently discovered globally abundant archaeon Nitrosopumilus maritimus in the laboratory and use a combination of methods, including metallo-proteomics and trace metal clean techniques, to build an understanding of their metal requirements.
I am part of the APPELS research project within the Oxford OceanBug group, led by Professor Rosalind Rickaby, which aims to shed light on the full metal requirements of phytoplankton, but have expanded the scope to include other dominant marine microorganisms. Find out more here.
I enjoy scientific communication and outreach; more info on my research can be found on Twitter and Instagram. I am also part of the ‘Beyond Boundaries’ project run by Oxford Sparks, a competition for secondary school students designed to increase visibility of female scientists from diverse backgrounds. Find out more here.
View Selected Publications
1. Shafiee RT, Snow JT, Zhang Q, Rickaby REM. Iron requirements and uptake strategies of the globally abundant marine ammonia-oxidising archaeon, Nitrosopumilus maritimus SCM1. ISME J [Internet]. 2019; Available from: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-019-0434-8