Handley Lab

Environmental Microbiology Laboratory

Current lab members

Kim Handley
Principal investigator

Senior Lecturer (School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland) and Rutherford Discovery Fellow (Royal Society Te Aparangi)

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Michael Hoggard
Post-doctoral research fellow

I graduated from the University of Auckland in 2015 with a BA in philosophy, and a BSc (hons) in marine and freshwater ecology and biomedical science. I completed my PhD at the University of Auckland in 2019, investigating microbial ecology and inflammatory processes underlying chronic inflammatory disease. In April 2020, I joined the Handley lab as a member of the Genomics Aotearoa project, Freshwater to marine environmental genomics, with a particular focus on aquatic viral ecology.

Katie Worrallo
PhD student

I am researching the impact of macroalgae on estuarine sediment microbial communities and nitrogen cycling processes. I have carried out macroalgae transplant experiments and have also sampled at various points through a year long macroalgal bloom at the Hutt River estuary in Wellington to assess how microbial community structure responds to algae addition and whether key nitrogen cycling process changes.

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Jian Sheng Boey
PhD student

I am interested in what delineates different microbial communities and their ecological roles in their respective niches relative to the larger community. My current project involves characterizing the community composition, structure and function of microbial communities across a mud gradient and observing their responses to perturbations via mesocosm incubations. I am also going to use data generated from the Genomics Aotearoa project to investigate changes in labile vs recalcitrant carbon metabolism across a large estuarine gradient.

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Chanenath Sriaporn
PhD student
I am interested in astrobiology, geobiology and evolution. My projects involve the study of potential existence of past life on Mars and the origin of life in terrestrial hot spring environments. 
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Olivia Mosley
PhD student

I am interested in finding signature genes and organisms that indicate the health of aquifer systems. The main focus being nitrate pollution and identifying key microbial processes and microorganisms involved in the nitrogen cycle. I am currently analysing data from a survey of aquifers nationwide to test hypotheses created from metagenomes assembled from an aquifer well series. I have a particular interest in anaerobic ammonia oxidisers (Anammox bacteria) and the microbial processes involved in complete denitrification.

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Emilie Gios
PhD student

My PhD project aims to explore life habits of recently described ultra-small microorganims in groundwater and their role within microbial communities by using a multi-omics approach. My goal is to help characterize groundwater ecosystems and their metabolic potential, and try to understand how interconnected those metabolic processes are.

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Hwee Sze Tee
PhD student

My project investigates the microbial diversity and functional variation in aquatic ecosystems by integrating multi-omics approaches. Specifically, I study the community dynamics and nutrient acquisition strategies in benthic sediments and the overlying water column across a stream to marine transect. I also examine how freshwater cyanobacteria, Microcoleus, establishes thick mats under phosphorus-limiting conditions in a temporal gradient, and further compare their genomic properties.

Alessandro Pisaniello
PhD student
Cesar Facimoto
PhD student

My project aims to use metagenome-assembled whole genomes to reconstruct the community metabolism in the hindgut of herbivorous fish, with a main focus in the metabolic pathways associated with seaweed carbohydrates degradation.

Giselle Wong
PhD student

Co-supervised PhD candidate, Taylor Lab

My research focuses on the gut microbiome and autism spectrum disorder.  For my PhD project, in collaboration with investigators at the Centre for Brain Research, I am currently working on a mouse model of autism and the influence of a treatment towards the gut microbiome.

Past lab members

2018 – 2020: David Waite (Postdoctoral research fellow): Genomics Aotearoa (stream microbiology and environmental genomics)
2017 – 2020: Syrie Hermans (co-supervised PhD candidate, Lear Lab): Soil microbial ecology
2018: Pierre Mathray (research intern, Lyon Catholic University): Estuarine microbiology
2017: Agathe Couturier (research intern, Lyon Catholic University): Estuarine microbiology
2016: Redmond Mortimer (BSc Hons): Estuarine microbiology

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