Dr Andrew Spiers

Reader

School School of Science, Engineering and Technology

Department Division of Science

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8730

Biography

I am a Reader in Molecular and Environmental Microbiology in the Division of Science, School of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) at Abertay University. I am involved in undergraduate teaching and lead my own microbiology research group. I am the Programme Leader for our BSc(Hons) Environmental Science and Technology (EST) Programme  and one of four Research Theme Leaders for Abertay University with the task of developing our research activities and impact in Environmental disciplines and related areas.

I am actively engaged in research, with my group based in the Microbial Ecology (ME) Laboratory, and I contribute more generally with the scientific community through UK and EU conferences, grant and manuscript reviewing, PhD examinations, etc. My research interests are focussed on the molecular biology and ecology of pseudomonads, and using these bacteria as model organisms to study aspects of evolution (see below). We are keen to recruit students for Masters by Research one-year projects, as well as PhD students for longer projects, and interested students should contact me for further details or to discuss project ideas. Current projects include bioinformatics-based comparison of pseudomonad genomes focussing on the identification of surfactant biosynthesis genes, and laboartory projects investigating adaptive radiation of bacteria in experimental microcosms including glass vials and potatoes. As part of my outreach activities, I also support Nuffield secondary school students, IAESTE and ERASMUS placements, and I am happy to make school visits if invited.

Professional Qualifications and Recognition

  • Bachelor of Science (1986) with a double major in Cell Biology and Zoology, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • Master of Science with First Class Honours (1988) with a specialisation in Cell Biology, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (1993) in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) (2012).
  • Member of the NERC Peer Review College (2012).
  • Certified Biologist (CBiol) (2017).
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) (2017).

Research Interests

As an environmental microbiologist, my interests are in the adaptation of bacteria to complex environments. My approach is to combine aspects of molecular microbiology, microbial ecology and evolution, and although this might seem abstract, close connections can be drawn with bacterial adaptation in agriculture, veterinary and medical situations. My long-term interest is to see experimental evolution and molecular investigations move to more complex microcosms which better simulate the natural environments in which the bacteria evolved. I have worked on a range of research projects following my PhD, and since then have been returned to RAE 2008 and REF 2014 as a full-time researcher. I am a member of the Division of Science and my research falls within the Environment Theme of Abertay University’s Research Strategy (for which I am also Theme Leader), a member of the NERC Peer Review College and a member of the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES).

My research experience is in the fields of environmental and molecular microbiology. I have been research-active since beginning my MSc at the University of Auckland in 1986, and since then have published over forty research papers, reviews and book chapters, ranging from the molecular analysis of plasmid replicons and site-specific recombinases, pseudomonad biofilm-formation, cellulose and surfactant expression, to the evolutionary ecology describing the success of the Wrinkly Spreader, a biofilm-forming mutant of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. I am currentl collaborating with Dr. Olena Moshynets (Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine) on several P. fluorescens SBW25-related projects, and with Dr. Moritz Mueller (Swineburn University of Technology, Sarawak, Malaysia) on quorum-quencing marine Bacillus spp. bio-control agents. I maintain my research profile through conference participation, invited talks, reviewing activity, and several web-based sites, including ResearchGate and the Abertay University web pages.

In addition to my own research interests, an important role for me is to provide microbiological expertise and support to other colleagues and students within the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, and to undertake out-reach activities in the Dundee area. I am also actively engaged in manuscript and grant reviewing for a range of journals and RCUK (e.g. Associate Editor for BMC Evolutionary Biology from 2018; NERC Peer Review College from 2012; NERC IRF Panel C Member for 2018), and I record my reviewing activities with Publons (see https://publons.com/a/844217/). Finally, I have undertaken two PhD examinations as the internal examiner, and five examinations as the external examiner since 2005.

There are a number of opportunities for Undergraduate and Masters by Research projects in our research group, and students should contact me directly for discussions. I am interested in offering projects investigating aspects of single and multi-species biofilm-formation, pseudomonad whole-genome analyses, and surfactant expression. The current Registration fees can be found in the main University web pages.

Current Research Team (for 2018)

  • Raji Bamanga, PhD student (first Supervisor is Dr Scott Cameron) is developing our research into surfactant expression by soil bacteria.
  • Emily Donaldson, visiting undergraduate student from SAMS.
  • Robyn Jerdan, MbRes student, investigating community-based biofilms.
  • Buse Kaymaz, visiting ERASMUS and ITU Placement student from the Istanbul University of Technology.
  • Emily Cooper & Charity Mutoni, Honours Project students.
  • Alana Johnson & Alexandra Denholm, Nuffield Reserach Placement Students (with Dr Scott Cameron).

Previous Hons Project Students

  • Gaganesh Peruri, Sheena Phillips, Marcin Skiba, Sarah Szeto & Kamil Zawadzki (2008).
  • Greg Foster & Rofik Ahmed (2009).
  • Henry Hunter (2010).
  • Denise Barrett, Joanner King, Bernadette Macdonald, Danielle Mitchell & Yvette Udal (2012).
  • Kimberley McLaughlin (2014).
  • Máiréad Cowling & Alexander Gillespie (2015).
  • Alyssa Hayes, Sam McCreadie & Fraser Marnie (2016).
  • Vanneil Canlas, Manuel Cifredo & Mariam Ramzam (2017).

Former Masters by Research (MbR) and PhD Research Students

  • Jacob Malone (Replacement / Co-supervisor, PhD, BBSRC) (2002-2005).
  • Stephanie Gehrig (Replacement / Co-supervisor, PhD, Gatsby Fellowship) (2002-2005).
  • Kate Bailey (Co-supervisor,PhD, CEH-Oxford, NERC) (2003-2007).
  • Kamaluddeen Kabir (Primary supervisor, PhD, Umaru Musa Yar'adua University( (2014-2017).
  • Anna Koza (Primary supervisor, PhD, SIMBIOS / SAGES-Associated) (2008-2012).
  • Patsy Dello Sterpaio (Replacement supervisor, PhD, BBSRC) (2009-2012).
  • Helen Downie (Second supervisor, PhD, SIMBIOS / JHI Joint Studentship) (2010-2013).
  • Ayorinde Folorunso (Primary supervisor, MbR) (2011-2012).
  • Ibrahim Mohammed (Primary supervisor, PhD, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nigeria) (2011-2016).
  • Yvette Udall (Primary supervisor, MbR) (2012-2013).
  • Kimberley McLaughlin (Primary supervisor, MbR) (2014-2016).

Other visitors to our research group

  • Tabasum Makhdoomi, volunteer technician (2007).
  • Prajeesh Puthiya Veetil, MSc Project student (2007).
  • Kausik Chattopadhyay, MSc Project student (2008)
  • Elena Moshynets, visiting PhD student, Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (2008, 2009 & 2017).
  • Jennifer Green, secondary school summer student (2009).
  • Joanna Marzec (now Fechtner) & Kamil Zawadzki, MSc Project students (2009).
  • Varun Bollavaram & Donthula Kumar, MSc Project students (2010).
  • Natasha Anderson & Ella Clapperton, Nuffield summer students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2012).
  • David Raikes, Society for General Microbiology vacation studentship (2012).
  • Saadatu Abba, MSc Project student (2013).
  • Kimberley McLaughlin & Tania Milne, volunteer summer student researchers (2013).
  • Marija Petric, IAESTE programme visiting student (2013).
  • Linnet McGregor & Clare Patton, Nuffield summer students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2013).
  • Deborah Muir, undergraduate placement student (2014).
  • Kyle Duguid & Autumn Falconer, Nuffield (Placement) summer students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2014).
  • Harriet Mooney, IAESTE programme visiting student (2014).
  • Ibrahim Garba, visiting PhD student, Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Medical Laboratory Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Nigeria.
  • Kimberley McLaughlin, R-LINCS pump-priming researcher (2014).
  • Ali Haruna, visiting PhD student, Nigerian Defence Academy (2015).
  • Corinna Immoor, ERASMUS Trainee Studentship (2015).
  • John Brown & Emily Donaldson, Nuffield Summer Students (with Drs R. Falconer and N. White) (2015).
  • Angelica Fiona Tan, visiting MSc student from the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus (SUTS), Malaysia (2016).
  • Amanda Mathieson & Aysha Mukhtar, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Dr N. White) (2016).
  • Anna Kusmierska, IAESTE programme visiting student (2016) and visiting ERASMUS PhD student from the Department of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lódz, Poland (2017).
  • Dana Cheung & Sofiya Zyza, Nuffield Research Placement Students (2017).
  • Emily Donaldson, visiting undergraduate student from SAMS, Oban, and a former Nuffield Research Placement Student (2017).
  • Jessica Foster, secondary school student work experience (2017).
  • Halima Rabiu, visiting Academic / PhD Student (of Dr Yusuf Deeni) (2017).
  • Rebecca Rickert, IAESTE Programme visiting student (2017).
  • Kateryna Tkachenko, visiting FEMS PhD student from the Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (from Dr Marina Fomina's group) (2017).

Professional Employment History

  • Postdoctoral Researcher (1994-1998), Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher (1998-2001), Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
  • Departmental Research Fellow (2001-2003), Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
  • University Research Lecturer (2002-2006), Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
  • Senior CEH-Oxford Research Fellow (2006-2007), NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Oxford, Oxford, UK.
  • Reader in Environmental and Molecular Microbiology (from 2007), School of Science, Engineering and Technology, Abertay University, Dundee, UK.

Current University and School Administration

  • Environment Theme Leader for the University's Research Strategy (from 2016).
  • Member of the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (from 2016).
  • Member of the University Theme Leaders Group (from 2016).
  • Member of the University Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (from 2016).
  • Member of the Research Degrees Assessment Panel (from December 2017).
  • Member of the University REF Champion Team for UoA 6/7 (from 2016).
  • Member of the University Health and Safety Subcommittee (from 2014).
  • University Biological Safety Officer (from 2014).
  • SET School Safety Officer (from 2014).
  • Chair of the SET School Health and Safety Committee (from 2014).
  • Chair of the ad hoc SET School Genetic Manipulation Safety Committee (from 2014).
  • Member of the SET School Academic Committee (from 2016).
  • Member of the SET School Programme Leaders Group (from 2016).
  • Member of the SET School Science Programme Board (from 2016).
  • Member of the SET School Athena SWAN Self Assessment Team (from 2015).

I have always aspired to an academic career in which I believe teaching naturally complements research activities. As a result, I have made use of opportunities to be involved with teaching where possible. My background and expertise has allowed me to play an important role in teaching Biomedical Science, Biotechnology, Environmental Science and Technology, Food and Forensic Science undergraduate and postgraduate students at Abertay University, and this has been recognised by the award of Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). I am currently the Programme Leader for our new BSc(Hons) Environmental Science and Technology (EST) Programme which started in 2016 - 17.

 

Teaching Activities in the 2017-18 Academic Year

  • Programme leader for the BSc(Hons) Environmental Science and Technology (EST) Programme.
  • ENV100 Principles of Biology and Ecology (Academic tutor); Lectures, tutorials, field trip, feedback events, assessments.
  • ENV101 Introduction to Environmental Sciences (Module leader); Module management, lectures, tutorials, field trip, feedback events, assessments.
  • ENV102 Environmental Data Handling and Presentation (Academic tutor); Lectures and tutorials, assessments.
  • ENV205 Environment and Human Interactions (Module leader); Module management, lectures, tutorials, field trip/laboratories, feedback events, assessments.
  • LSC253: Medical Microbiology and Immunology; Moderation.
  • LSC410 Project Research Methods (Academic tutor); Lectures, tutorials.
  • Hons Projects (Academic tutor); Health and Safety, student projects, assessments.
  • Graduate School : Health and Saftey and Good Laboratory Practice Seminar for New Students.

Current Teaching-Related School Administration

  • Member of the SET School Academic Committee (from 2016).
  • Member of the SET School Programme Leaders Group (from 2016).
  • Member of the SET School Science Programme Board (from 2016).
  • SET School Non-Academic Undergraduate Disciplinary Officer (from 2015).

As an environmental microbiologist, my interests are in the adaptation of bacteria to complex environments. My approach is to combine aspects of molecular microbiology, microbial ecology and evolution, and although this might seem abstract, close connections can be drawn with bacterial adaptation in agriculture, veterinary and medical situations. My long-term interest is to see experimental evolution and molecular investigations move to more complex microcosms which better simulate the natural environments in which the bacteria evolved. I have worked on a range of research projects following my PhD, and since then have been returned to RAE 2008 and REF 2014 as a full-time researcher (my REF 2014 papers were scored 3* and 4* in Abertay’s preliminary internal assessment). I am a member of the Division of Science and my research falls within the Environment Theme of Abertay University’s Research Strategy (for which I am also Theme Leader), and a member of the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES+).

My research experience is in the fields of environmental and molecular microbiology. I have been research-active since beginning my MSc at the University of Auckland in 1986, and since then have published over forty research papers, reviews and book chapters, ranging from the molecular analysis of plasmid replicons and site-specific recombinases, pseudomonad biofilm-formation, cellulose and surfactant expression, to the evolutionary ecology describing the success of the Wrinkly Spreader, a biofilm-forming mutant of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. I maintain my research profile through conference participation, invited talks, reviewing activity, and several web-based sites, including ResearchGate and the Abertay University web pages.

In addition to my own research interests, an important role for me is to provide microbiological expertise and support to other colleagues and students within the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, and to undertake out-reach activities in the Dundee area. I am also actively engaged in manuscript and grant reviewing for a range of journals and RCUK (e.g. Member of the Editorial Board (Reviewer) of Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2005-2007, 2008-2010, 2011-2013, and 2014-2016; Member of the Editorial Board of Advances in Evolutionary Biology from 2013; NERC Peer Review College from 2012), and I record my reviewing activities with Publons (see https://publons.com/a/844217/). Finally, I have undertaken two PhD examinations as the internal examiner, and five examinations as the external examiner since 2005.

There are a number of opportunities for Undergraduate and Masters by Research projects in our research group, and students should contact me directly for discussions. I am interested in offering projects investigating aspects of single and multi-species biofilm-formation, pseudomonad whole-genome analyses, and surfactant expression. The current Registration fees can be found in the main University web pages.

Current Reserach Team (for 2018)

  • Raji Bamanga, PhD student (first Supervisor is Dr Scott Cameron) is developing our research into surfactant expression by soil bacteria.
  • Robyn Jerdan, MbRes student, investigating community-based biofilms.
  • Emily Cooper & Charity Mutoni, Honours Project students.

Former Undergraduate Honours Project Students (from 2007)

  • Gaganesh Peruri, Sheena Phillips, Marcin Skiba, Sarah Szeto & Kamil Zawadzki (2008).
  • Greg Foster & Rofik Ahmed (2009).
  • Henry Hunter (2010).
  • Denise Barrett, Joanner King, Bernadette Macdonald, Danielle Mitchell & Yvette Udal (2012).
  • Kimberley McLaughlin (2014).
  • Máiréad Cowling & Alexander Gillespie (2015)
  • Alyssa Hayes, Sam McCreadie & Fraser Marnie (2016)
  • Vanneil Canlas, Manuel Cifredo & Mariam Ramzam (2017)

Former Masters by Reserach (MbR) and PhD Research Students

  • Jacob Malone (Replacement / Co-supervisor, PhD, BBSRC) (2002-2005).
  • Stephanie Gehrig (Replacement / Co-supervisor, PhD, Gatsby Fellowship) (2002-2005).
  • Kate Bailey (Co-supervisor,PhD, CEH-Oxford, NERC) (2003-2007).
  • Kamaluddeen Kabir (Primary supervisor, PhD, Umaru Musa Yar'adua University( (2014-2017).
  • Anna Koza (Primary supervisor, PhD, SIMBIOS / SAGES-Associated) (2008-2012).
  • Patsy Dello Sterpaio (Replacement supervisor, PhD, BBSRC) (2009-2012).
  • Helen Downie (Second supervisor, PhD, SIMBIOS / JHI Joint Studentship) (2010-2013).
  • Ayorinde Folorunso (Primary supervisor, MbR) (2011-2012)
  • Ibrahim Mohammed (Primary supervisor, PhD, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nigeria) (2011-2016)
  • Yvette Udall (Primary supervisor, MbR) (2012-2013).
  • Kimberley McLaughlin (Primary supervisor, MbR) (2014-2016)

Other Visitors to the Research Group

  • Tabasum Makhdoomi, volunteer technician (2007).
  • Prajeesh Puthiya Veetil, MSc Project student (2007).
  • Kausik Chattopadhyay, MSc Project student (2008)
  • Elena Moshynets, visiting PhD student, Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (2008, 2009 & 2017).
  • Jennifer Green, secondary school summer student (2009).
  • Joanna Marzec (now Fechtner) & Kamil Zawadzki, MSc Project students (2009).
  • Varun Bollavaram & Donthula Kumar, MSc Project students (2010).
  • Natasha Anderson & Ella Clapperton, Nuffield summer students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2012).
  • David Raikes, Society for General Microbiology vacation studentship (2012).
  • Saadatu Abba, MSc Project student (2013).
  • Kimberley McLaughlin & Tania Milne, volunteer summer student researchers (2013).
  • Marija Petric, IAESTE programme visiting student (2013).
  • Linnet McGregor & Clare Patton, Nuffield summer students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2013).
  • Deborah Muir, undergraduate placement student (2014).
  • Kyle Duguid & Autumn Falconer, Nuffield (Placement) summer students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2014).
  • Harriet Mooney, IAESTE programme visiting student (2014).
  • Ibrahim Garba, visiting PhD student, Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Medical Laboratory Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Nigeria.
  • Kimberley McLaughlin, R-LINCS pump-priming researcher (2014).
  • Ali Haruna, visiting PhD student, Nigerian Defence Academy (2015).
  • Corinna Immoor, ERASMUS Trainee Studentship (2015).
  • John Brown & Emily Donaldson, Nuffield Summer Students (with Drs R. Falconer and N. White) (2015).
  • Angelica Fiona Tan, visiting MSc student from the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus (SUTS), Malaysia (2016).
  • Amanda Mathieson & Aysha Mukhtar, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Dr N. White) (2016).
  • Anna Kusmierska, IAESTE programme visiting student (2016) and visiting ERASMUS PhD student from the Department of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, University of Lódz, Poland (2017).
  • Dana Cheung & Sofiya Zyza, Nuffield Research Placement Students (2017).
  • Emily Donaldson, visiting undergraduate student from SAMS, Oban, and a former Nuffield Research Placement Student (2017).
  • Jessica Foster, secondary school student work experience (2017).
  • Halima Rabiu, visiting Academic / PhD Student (of Dr Yusuf Deeni) (2017).
  • Rebecca Rickert, IAESTE Programme visiting student (2017).
  • Kateryna Tkachenko, visiting FEMS PhD student from the Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (from Dr Marina Fomina's group) (2017).

Publications and Statistics

All publications are listed in the following sections: Most Recent Five Publications, Original Research Articles and Reviews, and Book Chapters. For many of these, PDFs are available on request to AS. For publication statistics, please visit Google Scholar, ResearchGate, ResearcherID, Scopus or the Web of Knowledge.

 

Most Recent Five Publications

E. HARRISON, J.J.P. HALL, S. PATERSON, A.J. SPIERS & M.A. BROCKHURST (2017). Conflicting selection alters the trajectory of molecular evolution in a tripartite bacteria-plasmid-phage interactions. Molecular Ecology 26:2757–2764.

K. MCLAUGHLIN, A.O. FOLORUNSO, Y.Y. DEENI, D. FOSTER, S.M. HAPCA, C. IMMOOR, A. KOZA, I.U. MOHAMMED, O. MOSHYNETS, S. ROGALSKY,  K. ZAWADZKI & A.J. SPIERS (2017). Biofilm formation and cellulose expression by Bordetella avium 197N, the causative agent of bordetellosis in birds and an opportunistic respiratory pathogen in humans. Res Microbiology 168: 419-430.

A. KOZA, A. KUSMIERSKA, K. MCLAUGHLIN, O. MOSHYNETS & A.J. SPIERS (2017). Adaptive radiation of P. fluorescens SBW25 in experimental microcosms provides an understanding of the evolutionary ecology and molecular biology of A-L interface biofilm-formation. FEMS Microbiol Lett 364:fnx109.

K. KABIR, Y.Y. DEENI, S.M. HAPCA, L. MOORE & A.J. SPIERS (2018). Uncovering behavioural diversity amongst high-strength Pseudomonas spp. surfactants at the limit of liquid surface tension reduction. FEMS Microbiology Lett, 365:fny008.

O.V. MOSHYNETS, D. FOSTER, S.A. KARAKHIM, K. MCLAUGHLIN, S.P. ROGALSKY, S.Y. RYMAR, G.P. VOLYNETS & A.J. SPIERS (2018). Examining c-di-GMP and possible quorum sensing regulation in Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25: Links between intra- and inter-cellular regulation benefits community cooperative activities such as biofilm formation. Ukrainian Biochemistry J. 90;17-3

 

Original Reserach Articles and Reviews

D. SAUL, A.J. SPIERS, J. MCANULTY, M.D. GIBBS, P.L. BERGQUIST & D.F. HILL (1989). Nucleotide sequence and replication characteristics of RepFIB, a basic replicon of incF plasmids. J Bacteriology 171:2697-2707.

A.J. SPIERS & P.L. BERGQUIST (1992). Expression and regulation of the RepA protein of the RepFIB replicon from plasmid P307. J Bacteriology 174:7533-7541.

M.D. GIBBS, A.J. SPIERS & P.L. BERGQUIST (1993). RepFIB: A basic replicon of large plasmids. Plasmid 29:165-179.

A.J. SPIERS, N. BHANA & P.L. BERGQUIST (1993). Regulatory interactions between RepA, an essential replication protein, and the DNA repeats of RepFIB from the plasmid P307. J Bacteriology 175:4016-4024.

A.J. SPIERS & D.J. SHERRATT (1997). Relating primary structure to function in the Escherichia coli XerD site-specific recombinase. Molecular Microbiology 24:1071-1082.

A.J. SPIERS & D.J. SHERRATT (1999). C-terminal interactions between the XerC and XerD site-specific recombinases. Molecular Microbiology 32:1031-1042.

A.J. SPIERS, A. BUCKLING & P. RAINEY (2000). The causes of Pseudomonas diversity. Microbiology 146:2345-2350.

A.J. SPIERS, D. FIELD, M. BAILEY & P. RAINEY (2001). Notes on designing a partial genomic database: The PfSBW25 Encyclopaedia, a sequence database for Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. Microbiology  147:247-249.

A.J. SPIERS, S.G. KAHN, M. TRAVISANO, J. BOHANNON & P.B. RAINEY (2002). Adaptive divergence in Pseudomonas fluorescens. 1. Determinants of wrinkly spreader fitness and the cause of an evolutionary transition. Genetics 161:33-46.

M. GAL, G.M. PRESTON, R.C. MASSEY, A.J. SPIERS & P.B. RAINEY (2003). Genes encoding a cellulosic polymer contribute toward the ecological success of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 on plant surfaces. Molecular Ecology 12:3109-3121.

A.J. SPIERS, J. BOHANNON, S. GEHRIG & P.B. RAINEY (2003). Biofilm formation at the air–liquid interface by the Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 wrinkly spreader requires an acetylated form of cellulose. Molecular Microbiology 50:15–27.

A.J. SPIERS & P.B. RAINEY (2005). The Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 wrinkly spreader biofilm requires attachment factor, cellulose fibre and LPS interactions to maintain strength and integrity. Microbiology 151:2829-2839.

P. GOYMER, S.G. KAHN, J.G. MALONE, S.M. GEHRIG, A.J. SPIERS & P.B. RAINEY (2006). Adaptive divergence in experimental populations of Pseudomonas fluorescens. II. Role of WspR in evolution and the development of the wrinkly spreader phenotype. Genetics 173:515-526.

W.E. HUANG & A.J. SPIERS (2006). Consideration of future requirements for Raman microbiology as an examplar for the ab initio development of informatics frameworks for emergent OMIC technologies. OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology 10:238-241.

S. UDE, D.L. ARNOLD, C.D. MOON, T. TIMMS-WILSON & A.J. SPIERS (2006). Biofilm formation and cellulose expression among diverse environmental Pseudomonas isolates. Environmental Microbiology 8:1997-2011.

W.E. HUANG, M.J. BAILEY, I.P. THOMPSON, A.S. WHITELEY & A.J. SPIERS (2007). Single-cell Raman spectral profiles of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 reflects in vitro and in planta metabolic history. Microbial Ecology 53:414–425.

W.E. HUANG, S. UDE & A.J. SPIERS (2007). Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 biofilm and planktonic cells have differentiable Raman spectral profiles. Microbial Ecology 53:471–474.

S. UDE, M.J. BAILEY, W.E. HUANG & A.J. SPIERS (2007). The environmental plasmid pQBR103 alters the single-cell Raman spectral profile of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. Microbial Ecology 53:494–497.

E. BANTINAKI, R. KASSEN, C. KNIGHT, Z. ROBINSON, A.J. SPIERS & P.B. RAINEY (2007). Adaptive divergence in experimental populations of Pseudomonas fluorescens. III. Mutational origins of wrinkly spreader diversity. Genetics 176:441–453.

J.G. MALONE, R. WILLIAMS, A.J. SPIERS & P.B. RAINEY (2007). The structure-function relationship of WspR: a Pseudomonas fluorescens response-regulator with a GGDEF output domain. Microbiology 153:980-994.

A. TETT, A.J. SPIERS, L.C. CROSSMAN, D. AGER, L. CIRIC, J.M. DOW, J. FRY, D. HARRIS, A. LILLEY, J. PARKHILL, M.A. QUAIL, P.B. RAINEY,  N.J. SAUNDERS, K. SEEGER, L.A.S. SNYDER, R. SQUARES, C. THOMAS, S.L. TURNER, X-X. ZHANG, D. FIELD & M.J. BAILEY (2007). Sequence-based analysis of pQBR103; a representative of a unique, transfer-proficient mega plasmid resident in the microbial community of sugar beet. The ISME Journal 1:331-340.

A.J. SPIERS (2007). Wrinkly-Spreader fitness in the two-dimensional agar plate microcosm: maladaptation, compensation and ecological success. PLoS ONE 2(8):e740.

D. FIELD, G. GARRITY, J. SELENGUT, P. STERK, T. TATUSOVA, N. THOMSON, M. ASHBURNER, J. BOORE, G. COCHRANE, J. COLE, C. DE PAMPHILUS, R. EDWARDS, N. FARUQUE, R. FELDMAN, T. GRAY, S. GURR, D. HAFT, D. HANCOCK, C. HERTZ-FOWLER, J. HUGHES, I. JOINT, M. KANE, J. KENNEDY, E. KOLKER, N. KYRIPIDES, J. LEEBENS-MACK, S. LEWIS, N. MALTSEV, V. MARKOWITZ, B. METHE, N. MORRISON, K. NELSON, J. PARKHILL, S.-A. SANSONE, A. SPIERS, R. STEVENS, P. SWIFT, C. TAYLOR, Y. TATENO, A. TETT, S. TURNER, D. USSERY, B. VAUGHAN, T. WHETZEL,  G. WILSON & A. WIPAT (2008). The minimum information about a genome sequence (MIGS) specification. Nature Biotechnology 26:541-547.

W.E. HUANG, Y. LI, A.C. SINGER, A.J. SPIERS, G. M. PRESTON & A.S. WHITELEY (2008). Characterising the regulation of the Pu promoter in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. Environmental Microbiology 10:1668-1680.

A. KOZA, P.D. HALLETT, C.D. MOON & A.J. SPIERS (2009). Characterisation of a novel air–liquid interface biofilm of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. Microbiology 155:1397-1406.

M.W. SILBY, A.M. CERDEÑO-TÁRRAGA, G. VERNIKOS, S.R. GIDDENS, R. JACKSON, G. PRESTON, X-X. ZHANG, S. GODFREY, A.J. SPIERS, S. HARRIS, G.L. CHALLIS, A. MORNINGSTAR, D. HARRIS, K. SEEGER, L. MURPHY, S. RUTTER, R. SQUARES, M.A. QUAIL, E. SAUNDERS, I. ANDERSON, K. MAVROMAT, T.S. BRETTIN, S. BENTLEY, C.M. THOMAS, J. PARKHILL, S.B. LEVY, P.B. RAINEY & N.R. THOMSON (2009). Genomic and functional analyses of diversity and plant interactions of Pseudomonas fluorescens. Genome Biology 10:R51.

S. PATERSON, T. VOGWILL, A.  BUCKLING, R. BENMAYOR, A.J. SPIERS, N.R. THOMSON, M. QUAIL, F. SMITH, D. WALKER, B. LIBBERTON, A. FENTON, N. HALL & M.A. BROCKHURST (2010). Antagonistic coevolution accelerates molecular evolution. Nature 464:275-278.

O.V. MOSHYNETS, S.P. SHPYLOVA, A.J. SPIERS & I.V. KOSAKIVSKA (2010). The phytosphere of Brassica napus L. as a niche for Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. (In Ukrainian) Reports of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2010, N12:150-153.

J.H. GREEN, A. KOZA, O. MOSHYNETS, R. PAJOR, M.R. RITCHIE & A.J. SPIERS (2011). Evolution in a Test-tube : Rise of the Wrinkly Spreaders. J Biological Education 45:54-59.

A. KOZA, O. MOSHYNETS, W. OTTEN & A.J. SPIERS (2011). Environmental modification and niche construction: Developing O2 gradients drive the evolution of the Wrinkly Spreader. The ISME Journal 5:665-673.

O.V. MOSHYNETS, A. KOZA, P. DELLO STERPAIO, V.A. KORDIUM & A.J. SPIERS (2011). Up-dating the Cholodny method using PET films to sample microbial communities in soil. Biopolymers & Cell 27:199-205.

J. FECHTNER, A. KOZA, P. DELLO STERPAIO, S.M. HAPCA & A.J. SPIERS (2011). Surfactants expressed by soil pseudomonads alter local soil-water distribution suggesting a hydrological role for these compounds. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 78:50-58.

H. DOWNIE, N. HOLDEN, W. OTTEN, A.J. SPIERS, T.A. VALENTINE & L.X. DUPUY (2012). Transparent soil for imaging the rhizosphere. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44276.

M. ROBERTSON, S.M. HAPCA, O. MOSHYNETS & A.J. SPIERS (2013). Air-liquid interface biofilm formation by psychrotrophic pseudomonads recovered from spoilt meat. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 103:251-259.

A.J. SPIERS (2014). A mechanistic explanation linking adaptive mutation, niche change and fitness advantage for the Wrinkly Sptreader. Int J Evolutionary Biology 2014: Article ID 675432, 10 pages.

A.J. SPIERS (2014). Getting Wrinkly Spreaders to demonstrate evolution in schools. Trends Microbiology 22:301-303.

G. VINOJ, B. VASEEHARAN, S. THOMAS, A.J. SPIERS & S. SHANTHI (2014). Quorum-quenching activity of the AHL-lactonase from Bacillus licheniformis DAHB1 inhibits vibrio biofilm-formation in vitro and reduces shrimp intestinal colonisation and mortality. Marine Biotechnology 16:707-715.

H.F. DOWNIE, T.A. VALENTINE, W. OTTEN, A.J. SPIERS & L.X. DUPUY (2014). Transparent soil microcosms allow 3D spatial quantification of soil microbiological processes in vivo. Plant Signaling and Behaviour 9: e970421.

I.U. MOHAMMED, Y. DEENI, S.M. HAPCA, K. MCLAUGHLIN & A.J. SPIERS (2015). Predicting the minimum liquid surface tension activity of pseudomonads expressing biosurfactants. Letters in Applied Microbiology 60:37-43.

E. HARRISON, A.J. WOOD, C. DYTHAM, J.W. PITCHFORD, J. TRUMAN, A. SPIERS, S. PATERSON & M.A. BROCKHURST (2015). Bacteriophages limit the existence conditions for conjugative plasmids. mBio 6(3):e00586-15.

E. HARRISON, J. TRUMAN, R. WRIGHT, A.J. SPIERS, S. PATERSON & M.A, BROCKHURST (2015). Plasmid carriage can limit bacteria-phage coevolution. Biology Letters 11:20150361.

Y.C. UDALL, Y. DEENI, S.M. HAPCA, D. RAIKES & A.J. SPIERS (2015). The evolution of biofilm-forming Wrinkly Spreaders in static microcosms and drip-fed columns selects for subtle differences in wrinkleality and fitness. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91:fiv057.

J.P.J. HALL, E. HARRISON, A.K. LILLEY, S. PATERSON, A.J. SPIERS & M.A. BROCKHURST (2015). Environmentally co-occuring mercury resistance plasmids are genetically and phenotypically diverse and confer variable context-dependent fitness effects. Environmental Microbiology 17:5008-5022.

E. HARRISON, A.J. WOOD, C. DYTHAM, J.W. PITCHFORD, J. TRUMAN, A. SPIERS, S. PATERSON & M.A. BROCKHURST (2015). Parallel compensatory evolution stabilizes plasmids across the parasitism-mutualism continuum. Current Biology 25:2034-2039.

E. HARRISON, C. DYTHAM, J.P. J. HALL, D. GUYMER, A.J. SPIERS, S. PATERSON & M.A. BROCKHURST (2016). Rapid compensatory evolution promotes the survival of conjugative plasmids. Mobile Genetic Elements 6:e1179074.

A. KUSMIERSKA & A.J. SPIERS (2016). New insights into the effects of several environmental parameters on the relative fitness of a numerically dominant class of evolved niche specialist. Int J Evolutionary Biol 2016: Article ID 4846565.

E. HARRISON, J.J.P. HALL, S. PATERSON, A.J. SPIERS & M.A. BROCKHURST (2017). Conflicting selection alters the trajectory of molecular evolution in a tripartite bacteria-plasmid-phage interactions. Molecular Ecology 26:2757–2764.

K. MCLAUGHLIN, A.O. FOLORUNSO, Y.Y. DEENI, D. FOSTER, S.M. HAPCA, C. IMMOOR, A. KOZA, I.U. MOHAMMED, O. MOSHYNETS, S. ROGALSKY,  K. ZAWADZKI & A.J. SPIERS (2017). Biofilm formation and cellulose expression by Bordetella avium 197N, the causative agent of bordetellosis in birds and an opportunistic respiratory pathogen in humans. Res Microbiology 168:419-430.

A. KOZA, A. KUSMIERSKA, K. MCLAUGHLIN, O. MOSHYNETS & A.J. SPIERS (2017). Adaptive radiation of P. fluorescens SBW25 in experimental microcosms provides an understanding of the evolutionary ecology and molecular biology of A-L interface biofilm-formation. FEMS Microbiol Lett 364:fnx109.

K. KABIR, Y.Y. DEENI, S.M. HAPCA, L. MOORE & A.J. SPIERS (2018). Uncovering behavioural diversity amongst high-strength Pseudomonas spp. surfactants at the limit of liquid surface tension reduction. FEMS Microbiology Lett, 365:fny008.

 

Book Chapters

S.W. SERJEANTSON, A. SPIERS, P. RANFORD & B.R. HAWKINS (1986). The distribution of non-HLA blood genetic markers in Hong Kong and Singapore. In: Human Leukocyte Antigens in Chinese. B.R. Hawkins (Ed.). Hong Kong University Press.

G.M. PRESTON, A. SPIERS, A., X.-X. ZHANG, R. JACKSON, R., M. GAL, C. KNIGHT, S. GEHRIG, J. MALONE, C. MOON, S. GODFREY, Z. ROBINSON, N. BERTRAND, D. FIELD & P.B. RAINEY (2003). Pseudomonas in the underworld: the secret life of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25. In: Pseudomonas syringae and related pathogens. N. Lacobellis (Ed.). Kluwer Academic Publishers.

H.J.E. BEAUMONT, S.M. GEHRIG, R. KASSEN, C. KNIGHT, J. MALONE, A.J. SPIERS & P.B. RAINEY (2006). The genetics of phenotypic innovation. In: SGM symposium 66: Prokaryotic diversity – mechanisms and significance. N.A. Logan, H.M. Lappin-Scott & P.C.F. Oyston (Eds). Cambridge University Press.

A.J. SPIERS, D.L. ARNOLD, C.D. MOON & T.M. TIMMS-WILSON (2006). A survey of A-L biofilm formation and cellulose expression amongst soil and plant-associated Pseudomonas isolates. In: Microbial Ecology of Aerial Plant Surfaces. M.J. Bailey, A.K. Lilley & T.M. Timms-Wilson (Eds). CABI.

A.J. SPIERS, R. GOODACRE & W.E. HUANG (2008). Determination of bacterial metabolism, physiology, regulatory responses and stress status by single-cell Raman spectral analyses. Molecular Microbial Ecology Manual II: 1789-1805. In: Molecular Microbial Ecology Manual II (on-line). G.A. Kowalchuk, F.J. de Bruijn, I.M. Head, A.D. Akkermans & J.D. van Elsas (Eds.). Springer. (On-line, Section 8 Update, 2008).

I.M. YOUNG, J.W. CRAWFORD, N. NUNAN, W. OTTEN & A. SPIERS (2008). Microbial distribution in soils: physics and scaling. In: Advances in Agronomy. Vol. 100. D.L. Sparks (Ed.). Elsevier.

A.J. SPIERS (2013). Bacterial evolution in simple microcosms. In: Microcosms: Ecology, Biological Implications and Environmental Impact. Microbiology Research Advances Series. C.H. Harris (Ed.). Nova Publishers.

O. MOSHYNETS, M. BORETSKA & A.J. SPIERS (2013). From Winogradsky's column to contemporary research using bacterial microcosms. In: Microcosms: Ecology, Biological Implications and Environmental Impact. Microbiology Research Advances Series. C.H. Harris (Ed.). Nova Publishers.

A.J. SPIERS, Y.Y. DEENI, A.O. FOLORUNSO, A. KOZA, O. MOSHYNETS & K. ZAWADZKI (2013). Cellulose expression in Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 and other environmental pseudomonads. In : Cellulose - Medical, Pharmaceutical and Electronic Applications. T.G.M. Van De Ven & L. Godbout (Eds.). InTech Publishers.

O.V. MOSHYNETS & A.J. SPIERS (2016). Viewing biofilms within the larger context of bacterial aggregations. In: Microbial biofilms – Importance and Applications. D. Dhanasekaran & N. Thajuddin (Eds.). InTech Publishers.

J. FECHTNER, S. CAMERON, Y.Y. DEENI, S.M. HAPCA, K. KABIR, I.U. MOHAMMED & A.J. SPIERS (2017). Limitations of biosurfactant strength produced by bacteria. In: Biosurfactants: Occurrences, Applications and Research. C.R. Upton (Ed.). Nova Publishers.

O.V. MOSHYNETS, D. FOSTER, S.A. KARAKHIM, K. MCLAUGHLIN, S.P. ROGALSKY, S.Y. RYMAR, G.P. VOLYNETS & A.J. SPIERS (2018). Examining c-di-GMP and possible quorum sensing regulation in Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25: Links between intra- and inter-cellular regulation benefits community cooperative activities such as biofilm formation. Ukrainian Biochemistry J. 90;17-31.

More Information

Funding

My group's research is currently supported by PhD and visiting PhD consumable fees (i.e. bench fees).

Previous funding includes

  • University of Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund (UCSF) (2001).
  • BBSRC Engineering & Biological Systems (2002-2004) (43/E16689, Recognized Researcher).
  • NERC Research Grant (2002-2004) (NER/T/S/2001/00298, Collaborator).
  • BBSRC Plants & Microbial Sciences (2002-2005) (43/P16688, Recognized Researcher).
  • European Commission Project Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources (2002-2006) (QLK5-CT-2002-00914, Partner 03, Scientific Team Supervision).
  • Initial funding support from the SIMBIOS Centre (2007-2011).
  • NERC Standard Research Grant Joint Award (2010-2013) (NE/H005250/1, UAD Principal Investigator).
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh International Exchange Programme Grant (2012).

 

Esteem

Recent Invited Seminars & Conference Presentations

  • Environmental change and challenge: Bacterial colonization of the A-L interface by biofilm-formation. Invited seminar, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011).
  • Biofilm formation and cellulose expression in static microcosms and on mushroom caps. Invited seminar, Department of Biology, University of York, York, UK (2012).
  • Fitness leaps & adaptation: Fitness advantage and ecological roles of cellulose produced by environmental pseudomonads. Invited seminar, Microbial Ecology Group of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine (2012).
  • Evolution in a Test-tube: Origins of the Wrinkly Spreader. Invited seminar, Department of Biology, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kiev, Ukraine (2012).
  • Bacterial colonization of the A-L interface by biofilm-formation. Invited seminar, Zabolotny Institute of Microbiology and Virology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine (2012).
  • Fitness advantage of bacterial cellulose expression in experimental microcosms and on mushrooms. Oral presentation, Society for General Microbiology Spring Conference, Manchester, UK (2013).
  • Experimental evolution: On Wrinkly Spreaders and Wrinkleality. Invited seminar, School of Biological Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK (2014).
  • Evolution in a test-tube: Rise of the Wrinkly Spreaders. Invited seminar presentation. Aquatic and Biotechnology Group, Biofilm Centre, Universität Duisburg-Essen Essen, Germany (2014).
  • On the evolution of Wrinkly Spreaders, wrinkleality and fitness. Oral presentation. Annual Conference 2015 of the (German) Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM) Marburg, Germany (2015).
  • Pre-Dinner Speech. British Council for Scotland & IAESTE Summer Reception Edinburgh, UK (2015).
  • Investigating behavioural differences amongst high-performing Pseudomonas spp. surfactants. Poster presentation. Annual Conference 2016 of the (German) Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM) Jena, Germany (2016).
  • High-activity surfactants expressed by Pseudomonas spp. show significant behavioural differences. Invited Oral presentation (Plenary speaker, Session II, and Co-session chair). The 4th Workshop on Microbiology in Health Care and Environmental protection, MIKROBIOT 2017, Lodz, Poland.

Membership of Professional Societies

  • Ordinary member of the Society for Microbiology (formerly the SGM) from 2000.
  • Ordinary member of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) from 2006.
  • Associated member of the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience Environment and Society (SAGES) from 2007.
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (formerly the Institute of Biology) (SB) from 2008.
  • Full member of the Royal Institution (RI) from 2009.
  • Ordinary member of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) from 2012.
  • Affiliate member of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies from 2013.
  • Member of the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) from 2013.

Ex officio positions outwith the University

  • Ordinary member of the Royal Society of Biology of Scottish Council (2016 - 2020).

Other activities include

  • General reviewing for Antonie van Leeuwenhoek J. Microbiology, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Applied Microbiology, Cell and Animal Biology, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology Reports, FEMS Microbiology Letters, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, J. Applied Microbiology, J. Bacteriology, J. International Society of Microbial Ecology, J. Microbial Biotechnology, J. Microbiological Methods, Microbiology, Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Molecular Plant Pathology, Plasmid, and PLoS ONE (Reviewing activity is now listed on Publons, https://publons.com/home/).
  • Editorial Board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2005-2007, 2008-2010, 2011-2013, 2014-2016).
  • External PhD examiner for the University of Manchester (2005); Oxford Brooks University (2009), University of York (2013), Oxford University (2014), and University of Manchester (2016).
  • Internal PhD examiner for the University of Abertay Dundee (2007 & 2013).
  • Organising Committee of the MicroSoil Conferences (2009 & 2011), Dundee, UK.
  • Reviewer of the Draft Screening Assessment Report for Pseudomonas fluorescens, Government of Canada (2011).
  • NERC Peer Review College (from 2012).

Outreach

Outreach activities are key to justifying public support and understanding of science. I have visited schools to give talks, and support students through Dundee-area school-based baccalaureates and schemes such as the Nuffield Research Placements. There are a number of opportunities for student projects in our research group, and interested students or their teachers should contact me directly or through the STEM Ambassador Hub if interested.

I am a registered  STEM Ambassador and can be contacted through the STEM East / STEM Ambassador Hub.

Previous visiting students

  • Jennifer Green, STEM Secondary School summer student (2000).
  • Aiden Cairnie, Scottish Baccalaureate student (2010).
  • Oliver Cassidy, International Baccalaureate student (2011).
  • Natasha Anderson & Ella Clapperton, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2012).
  • Linnet McGregor & Clare Patton, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2013).
  • Kyle Duguid & Autumn Falconer, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Dr R. Falconer) (2014).
  • John Brown & Emily Donaldson, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Drs R. Falconer and N. White) (2015).
  • Amanda Mathieson & Aysha Mukhtar, Nuffield Research Placement Students (with Dr N. White) (2016).
  • Dana Cheung & Sofiya Zyza, Nuffield Research Placement Students (2017).
  • Jessica Foster, secondary school student work experience (2017).

Meet the rest of the team

Ms Irene Tierney

Ms Irene Tierney

Division of Science | Lecturer

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Dr Peter Maskell

Dr Peter Maskell

Division of Science | Senior Lecturer

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