PhD: Exploring the ecology of airborne pollen biodiversity using environmental DNA analysis and identifying links to hay fever
School of Environment
Natural Resources and Geography
I completed my Undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Bangor. My dissertation focused on the Warburg and Crabtree effects in cancer cell energy metabolism. I would describe myself as a biologist/ecologist, as I am both interested in the relationship between organisms and their environment, but also the relationship between plants and the environment. I find ecology to be a very diverse field of science involving the study of interactions between both biotic and abiotic organisms.
The aim of my research project is to use molecular genetic approaches, aerobiology and environmental epidemiology in relation to tree, grass and hay fever. The project will assess the efficacy of combinations of qPCR, Illumina metabarcoding and shotgun sequencing to quantify species-specific pollen deposition of the eight major allergenic UK trees. Aerobiological modelling will be utilised to compare the spatial and temporal deposition of different species of both tree and grass pollens in relation to tree and pollen morphology and atmospheric variables. I will also identify linkages between species-specific grass pollen deposition and the incidence of hay fever in the UK.