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Dr Nia White

Role: Head of Abertay Graduate School

Division: Abertay Graduate School

School/Department: Academic Schools

Telephone Number: +44 (0)1382 308254

Email: N.White@abertay.ac.uk



Biography

I am Head of the new pan-University Graduate School (launched in September 2014) and was previously Head of the School of Science, Engineering & Technology at Abertay University. The Graduate School is an essential component of our new R-LINCS (Research-Led Innovation Nodes for Contemporary Society) Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy, to grow our RKE capacity and research excellence. All Postgraduate students, both taught and research, as well as research and academic staff, have access to the Graduate School which provides a comprehensive training programme within a central physical location of flexible working spaces, open to the entire research community, to promote integration and inculcation of an inter-disciplinary ethos.

I graduated from University College Cardiff in 1987 (BSc Hons Microbiology) and the University of Wales College of Cardiff (PhD SERC/CASE ICI Biological Products) in 1992, with a thesis entitled the ‘Biotechnological implications of the ecology and developmental biology of selected higher fungi’. I have over 20 years of research experience in Microbiology and Mycology, particularly on Serpula lacrymans, aspects of the ecology and biology of other wood and soil fungi, and on modelling the growth and interactions of filamentous fungi. I am driven by curiosity and the joy of working collaboratively.

I am particularly passionate about multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research, and was involved in the development of SIMBIOS at Abertay – an environmental sciences research group with an interest in complex systems and the use of modelling methodologies, to gain a better understanding of these systems applied across a wide range of discipline areas (from epidemiology to soil microbiology and everything in between). Our new University Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy R-LINCS is an extended, accelerated and enhanced expression of this approach.

I am Chair of the Self Assessment Team that led the Abertay University application for Athena SWAN bronze award.The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in employment in academia.

 


 

Teaching

I was previously the Programme Tutor for MSc Biotechnology and drove the development of MSc Medical Biotechnology, MSc Food Biotechnology and MProf Food & Drink Innovation within the School Science Engineering & Technology. My previous teaching expertise included Microbiology and Cell Biology, Techniques, Skills, and Experimental Biology, Biotechnology, Environmental Microbiology and Ecology, Biological Data Handling and Analysis, Forensic Microbiology, Serpula lacrymans and environmental control of building decay (invited external lecturer - University of Edinburgh, School of Architecture). As Head of the Graduate School my focus is now on Researcher Development and Research Degrees. 

I was the winner of the first Abertay University Student Led Teaching Award for Best Platform for Employability (2010).

Research

I have over 20 years of research experience in Microbiology and Mycology, particularly the physiology, molecular biology, ecology, evolution and environmental control of Serpula lacrymans the dry rot fungus; experimental and mathematical modelling of the growth and community dynamics of filamentous fungi; and aspects of the ecology and biology of other wood-decay and soil fungi.

I am particularly passionate about collaborative working and interdisciplinary research, and was involved in the development of SIMBIOS at Abertay – an environmental sciences research group with an interest in complex systems and the use of modelling methodologies, to gain a better understanding of these systems and applied across a wide range of discipline areas (from epidemiology to soil microbiology and everything in between). I have led the development of our new University Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy R-LINCS, which is an extended, accelerated and enhanced expression of this collaborative and interdisciplinary approach.
 

Publications

Falconer, R.E; Otten, W. & White, N.A. (2015) Toward Modeling the Resistance and Resilience of “Below-ground” Fungal Communities: A Mechanistic and Trait-Based Approach. Advances in Applied Microbiology Vol 93 (S. Sariaslani & G. Gadd Eds.).pp. 1-44. Elsevier Academic Press.  

Walker, G.M. & White, N.A. (2011) Introduction to fungal physiology. In: Fungi: Biology and Applications. (K. Kavanagh Ed.). Second Edition. pp. 1-34. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, England.

Falconer RE, Bown JL, McAdam E, Perez-Reche P, Sampson AT, van den Bulcke J and White NA, (2010) Modelling fungal colonies and communities: challenges and opportunities. IMA Fungus Volume 1 No.2: 155-159.

Ruth E. Falconer, James L. Bown, Nia A. White & John W. Crawford (2010). Linking individual behaviour to community scale patterns in fungi. Fungal Ecology. 4(1): pp.76-82.

Falconer, Ruth E.;  Bown, James L.; McAdam, Eilidh; Perez-Reche, Paco; Sampson, Adam T.; Van den Bulcke, Jan & White, Nia A. (2010) Modelling fungal colonies and communities: challenges and opportunities. IMA FUNGUS (Proceedings from the Special Interest Group of the International Mycological Congress IMC9, Edinburgh, UK).

Falconer, R.E.; Bown, J.L.; White, N.A. & Crawford, J.W. (2008) Modelling interactions in fungi. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 5, 603-615.

Abdullahi, Y.A.; Akunna, J.C.; White, N.A.; Hallett, P.D. & Wheatley, R. (2008) Investigating the effects of anaerobic and aerobic post-treatment on quality and stability of organic fraction of municipal solid waste as soil amendment. Bioresource Technology 99, 8631-8636.

Ruth E. Falconer, James L. Bown, Nia A. White & John W. Crawford (2007). Biomass Recycling: a key to efficient foraging; Oikos, 116 ( 9): 1558-1568.

Hallett, P.D.; White, N.A. & Ritz, K. (2006) Impact of basidiomycete fungi on the wettability of soil contaminated with a hydrophobic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. Biologia 61, S334-S338.

Feeney, D.; Rodger, S; Bengough, A.G.; Hallett, P.D.; White, N.A. & Young, I.M. (2006) Impact of fungal and bacterial biocides on microbial induced water repellency in arable soil. Geoderma, 135, 72-80.

Falconer, R.E.; Bown, J.L.; White, N.A. & Crawford, J.W. (2005) Biomass recycling and the origin of phenotype in fungal mycelia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272, 1727-1734.

Walker, G.M. & White, N.A. (2005) Introduction to fungal physiology. In: Fungi: Biology and Applications. (K. Kavanagh Ed.). pp. 1-34. John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, England.

White, N.A. (2004). The Importance of Wood Decay Fungi in Forest Ecosystems. In; Fungal Biotechnology in Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Applications (D.K. Arora Ed.). Marcel Dekker Inc, New York. ISBN 0-8247-4770-4.

Palfreyman, J.W. & White, N.A. (2003) Everything you wanted to know about dry-rot but were afraid to ask. Microbiology Today 30, 107-109.

Palfreyman, J.W.; Gartland, J.S.; Sturrock, C.J.; Lester, D.; White, N.A.; Low, G.A.; Bech-Andersen, J.; Cooke, D.E.L. (2003) The relationship between ‘wild’ and ‘building’ isolates of the dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans. FEMS Microbiology Letters 228; 281-286.

White, N.A.; Ariza-Moreno, A.; McIntosh, H. & Benson, E.E. (2000). Morphological studies of Serpula isolates following application of an encapsulation dehydration cryopreservation protocol. CryoLetters .

Sturrock, C.; Ritz, K; Samson, W.B.; Bown, J.; Stains, H.J.; Palfreyman, J.W.; Crawford, J.; White, N.A. (2002). The effects of fungal inoculum arrangement (scale and context) on emergent community develiopment in an agar model system. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 39, 9-16.

White, N.A.; Dehal, P.K.; Duncan, J.M.; Williams, N.A.; Gartland, J. S.; Palfreyman, J.W. & Cooke, D.E.L. (2001) Molecular analysis of intraspecific variation between building and ‘wild’ isolates of  Serpula lacrymans and their relatedness to Serpula himantioides . Mycological Research 105, 447-452.

White, N.A.; Hallett P.D.; Feeney, D.; Palfreyman J.W. & Ritz K. (2000) Changes to water repellence of soil caused by the growth of white-rot fungi: studies using a novel microcosm system. FEMS Microbiology Letters 184, 73-77.

Bown, J.L.; Sturrock, C.J.; Samson, W.B.; Staines, H.J.; Ritz, K.; White, N.A.; Palfreyman, J.W. & Crawford, J. (1999) Evidence for emergent behaviour in the large scale dynamics of a fungal microcosm. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 266, 1947-1952.


Palfreyman, J.W.; White, N.A. & Singh, J (1999) Timber Preservation: The Potential Use of Natural Products and Processes. From Ethnomycology to Fungal Biotechnology 01, 137-144. 

Low, G. A.; Palfreyman, J.W.; White, N.A. & Sinclair, D.C.R. (1999) Development of model systems for investigations of the dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans (Schumach. Ex. Fr.) Gray: use for the analysis of the environmental sensitivity of the organism. Holzforschung 53, 129-136.

White, N.A.; Sturrock, C.; Ritz, K.; Samson, W.B.; Bown, J.; Staines, H.J.; Palfreyman, J.W. & Crawford, J. (1998) Interspecific fungal interactions in spatially heterogeneous systems. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 27, 21-32.

Singh, J. & White, N.A. (1997) Timber Decay in Buildings: Pathology and Control. Journal of Performance Constructed Facilities. 11, 3-12.

White, N. A.; Low, G. A.; Singh, J.; Staines, H. & Palfreyman, J. W. (1997) Isolation and environmental study of 'wild' Serpula lacrymans and Serpula himantioides from the Himalayan Forests. Mycological Research 101, 580-584.

Score, A. J.; Palfreyman, J. W. & White, N. A. (1997) Extracellular phenoloxidase and peroxidase production during interspecific fungal interactions. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 39, 225-233.

Sienkiewicz, N.1- Buultjens, T. E. J.; White, N. A. & Palfreyman, J. W. (1997). Serpula lacrymans and the Heat-Shock response. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 39, 217-224.

White, N. A., Palfreyman, J. W. & Staines, H. (1996) Fungal Colonization of the keelson timbers of a nineteenth century wooden frigate. Material und Organismen 30, 117-131.

Singh, J., Mann, P. & White, N.A. (1996) Timber Decay: Causes and Remedies. Structural Engineering International 6, 200-202.

Singh, J. & White, N. A. Eds. (1995). Environmental Preservation of Timber in Buildings. The Proceedings of the International Conference on Environmental Preservation of Timber in Buildings, 21-22 September. Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland. Published by Oscar Faber Consulting Engineers Ltd. ISBN 1 900390 000.

Singh, J. & White, N.A. (1995) The search for a Himalayan link to a dry rot cure in buildings. Building Research and Information 23, 216-220.

Palfreyman, J. W.; White, N. A.; Buultjens, T. E. J. & Glancy, H- (1995) The impact of current research on the treatment of infestations by the dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 35, 369-395.

White, N. A.; Buultjens, E. J. & Palfreyman, J. W. (1995) Induction of transient thermotolerance in Serpula lacrymans and Serpula himantioides following exposure to supraoptimal (sublethal) temperatures. Mycological Research 99, 1055-1058.

White, N. A. & Boddy, L. (1992) Differential extracellular enzyme production in colonies of Coriolus versicolor, Phlebia radiata and Phlebia rufa: effect of gaseous regime. Journal of General Microbiology 138, 2589-2598.

White, N. A. & Boddy, L. (1992) Extracellular enzyme localization during interspecific fungal interactions. FEMS Microbiology Letters 98, 75-80.

Esteem

2014 – present; Universities Scotland Research Training sub-committee member.
2014 – present; Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Executive Committee member.
2014 – present; Scottish Graduate School for the Social Sciences Graduate School Directors Network member.
2011 – 2016; Scotland Food & Drink Skills Academy Board member and Chair of the Providers Committee.
2011 – 2014; Interface Food & Drink Steering Group member.
2010 – 2014; External Examiner BSc Applied Bioscience (Food Science) at the SRUC Ayr for the University of Glasgow
2010 – present; Member of the Deans of Science and Engineering in Scotland group.
2010; Winner of the first Student Led Teaching Award - Best Platform for Employability, Abertay University.
2006 – 2010; External Examiner for Access to Degree Studies, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
1992 – present; Member of the British Mycological Society, Member of the Society of Biology (CBiol MSB)
1992 – present; Referee for various academic journals and research funding councils.
2006 – 2007; Committee member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Tayside & Fife Local Branch).
1999 – 2004; Honorary Research Fellow, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee
1995 – present; Supervision to completion of 6 PhD and 3 MPhil students.
1995 – present; Internal or External examiner for 6 PhD and 4 MPhil theses.
 

Knowledge Exchange

My research work related to the Environmental Control of Serpula lacrymans the Dry-Rot Fungus, has received considerable attention from architects as well as conservation groups and specialists. As well as receiving Postgraduate studentship funding and contract work, I have published widely in practitioner journals, books and featured press articles and have given invited talks and lectures to numerous building conservation and ecological building architects, practitioners and organisations, preservation trusts and to students studying at Edinburgh University School of Architecture. I am a Steering Group Committee member for the AHRC funded Health Effects of Modern Airtight Construction (HEMAC) Network (https://hemacnetwork.com).

More recently I have been involved in innovation and knowledge exchange projects for the food and drink industry.

Funding

Most notable funding:
Leverhulme Research Studentship; Karl Meyer Foundation; Historic Scotland (PhD Research Studentship); EU; Carnegie Trust; SET market research; BBSRC Research Grant (2003) ‘Plant root and microbial influences on soil water relations and structural stability’; BBSRC Research Committee Enhanced Studentship (2003) ‘Biophysical fingerprinting of soil to forecast the impact of land management change’; SEPA, Catchment Ltd, and Angus Council.Joint studentship (co-applicant with Dr David Blackwood); Food & Drink Interface award with Macphie (Masters Studentship).

Outreach

Public engagement activity such as inspiring our next generation of scientists is critical to the vitality and relevance of science, engineering and technology within society.

I have been a committee member for the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Tayside), a CREST Awards judge, and contributor to the Dundee Space School and Dundee Science Festival, and have hosted Nuffield Research Placement student projects . I was a featured positive role model for Women in Science, as part of the 2012 Women in Science festival, Dundee & Fife. (J. Aitken & Z. Venditozzi. Dundee University Press) and role model and facilitator for the Aurora Adaptive Leadership Skills programme, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (2014-16). I am a member of the Dundee Children’s University Management Board.

The Graduate School includes the Abertay University OPEN (Outreach and Public Engagement Network) Office.