Dr Carmen Falagan Rodriguez
I am a Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology. My research interests fall into the environmental microbiology of extreme environments and geomicrobiology. I am interested in bioremediation and in developing new bioleaching approaches of mine tailings to minimise the impact of mining on the environment. I am also interested in studying the responses of microbial communities to climate change, and how we can use microorganisms in order to minimize the impact of climate change in the formation of acid mine drainage and the ocean.
I am happy to discuss MRes and PhD ideas and collaborations.
I am interested in environmental microbiology in extreme environments. I find very interesting how microorganisms can change the environment and how the environment changes the microbial communities. I am particularly interested in acidic environments, acid mine drainage, acidic pit lakes and bioleaching sites (e.g. heaps and bioreactors), how changes in physicochemical parameters (e.g. aeration, temperature, climate change) can shape the microbial communities that are going to be driving biochemical cycles in these environments.
I am also interested in biomining and reducing the impact that mining has on the environment. I have worked for the past years in several projects to optimise the use of microorganisms to extract metals from mining wastes (e.g. tailings, waste rock). I would like to see how we can improve the microbial communities involved in biomining so we can scale up the process and reduce the amount of mine waste produced. This will be also beneficial as we could apply the same systems for the recovery of ancient mine sites where there are tonnes of mine waste causing environmental issues in Europe and around the world.
Another research interest I have is the discovery of new microorganisms found in acidic and metal-rich environments. I have isolated and characterised several acidophilic organisms, at the moment, I am working to isolate a thermophilic archaeon found in a bioleaching plant.
I teach Microbiology and Evolution and Biodiversity to our undergraduates and Environmental Microbiolgy to our MSc students. I teach about biochemical cycles, extreme environments, microbiology and the origins of life! I supervise honour project students who research acidophilic microorganisms and the metal effect on antimicrobial resistance.
I am always interested to hear from prospective research students (MRes or PhD), postdoctoral researchers and other types of collaborators. Please, get in touch if you have interesting ideas. Some areas that I found particularly interesting:
- Biochemical cycles in acid mine drainage sites with a focus on the role of algae.
- Moderate thermophiles and thermophiles.
- Microbiology of Antarctic sea-floor sediments.