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Ellen Nisbet

Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Faculty of Science

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Biography

2020- University of Nottingham. School of BioscienceAssistant Professor of Microbiology.

2015-2020 University of Cambridge. Fellow, Downing College.

2012-2020 University of Cambridge. Department of Biochemistry. Senior Research Associate.

2008-2017 University of South Australia. Lecturer 2008, Senior Lecturer 2012, tenured 2012 (adjunct from 2014).

2009 Flinders University. Adjunct Lecturer.

2005-2008 University of Cambridge. Postdoctoral Research Associate joint with Massey University 2005-2008 University of Cambridge Research Fellow, Darwin College

2004-2005 University of Melbourne School of Botany. BBSRC Wain Fellowship.

2004 University of Cambridge PhD Biochemistry

2000 University College London BSc (Hons) Microbiology,

Research Summary

My research examines the evolution of the chloroplast and mitochondria, in both free-living and parasitic organisms. I am most interest in dinoflagellate algae, key symbionts in coral reefs, and the… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

My research examines the evolution of the chloroplast and mitochondria, in both free-living and parasitic organisms. I am most interest in dinoflagellate algae, key symbionts in coral reefs, and the apicomplexa. The apicomplexa are single-celled parasitic organisms, which include Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, and related animal pathogens. The apicomplexa contain a remnant, non-photosynthetic chloroplast.

My early research focused on the fragmented dinoflagellate chloroplast genome. I sequenced the numerous minicircles which make up its fragmented genome, and showed that the genes are expressed and make up a functional genome. During my post-doctoral research, I sequenced the first dinoflagellate mitochondrial genome, showing that it is significantly expanded in size, yet only contains three fragmented genes. I showed that there is significant RNA splicing and post-transcriptional processing required to obtain functional mRNA. My subsequent research has used genomics data to determine the metabolic function of the dinoflagellate mitochondrion, showing that these organisms use starch as a storage polysaccharide. We have recently developed the first successful stable genetic transformation method for dinoflagellates, allowing us to introduce genes to the chloroplast genome.

More recently, my work analyzing RNA processing in the Apicomplexa has shown for the first time that apicoplast transcription is polycistronic, with extensive post-transcriptional processing. We have identified a number of proteins involved in post-transcriptional RNA processing, and we are in the process of characterizing this pathway.

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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