Dr Mark Van Der Giezen
Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biochemistry


Microbes play important roles in human and animal health. Especially the microbes in guts are of crucial importance. We are interested in how these microbes, that live in the absence of oxygen, affect human and animal health. Research includes important human and animal pathogens but also focusses on microbes and nutrition and their role in food security.

Adaptation of microbial eukaryotes to low oxygen or complete lack of oxygen featured in several high impact publications (Nature (2003) 426, 172-176Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585, Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186 and PLoS Biology (2017) 15(9) e2003769) and included major human pathogens such as Giardia intestinalisEntamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis. We hope that understanding their unusual biochemistry might lead to new drug targets. 

Food security research focusses at biochemistry and genomics of several important pathogens such as Aphanomyces and Fasciola hepaticaAphanomyces causes two notifyable diseases: crayfish plague and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in fish while Fasciola causes liverfluke in cattle and sheep. 

Understanding how environmental microbes affect food productivity and human health is studied using environmental genomics and next generation sequencing.

A recent new research direction involves the use of algae to regenerate mine waste, this is an extension of our involvement in the genome of Emiliania huxleyi (Nature (2013) 499, 209-213). This work is part of the GW4+ AVaRICE project.

Our lab uses a variety of techniques to answer our research questions. Molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing methods are routinely used. 


2007 Certificate in Academic Practice, Queen Mary, University of London
1992-1997 PhD in Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen
1988-1992 Drs Molecular Biology & Immunology, University of Groningen


2009 Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Protein Research, University of Osaka, Japan
2007-present Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Biochemistry, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter
2004-2007 Lecturer in Microbiology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London
2002-2004 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London
1998 EMBO Fellow
1997-2002 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London
1996 Visiting Scientist, Centre for the Study of Metals in Biology and Medicine, King‘s College, London
1992 Erasmus Studentship, Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Génétique Moléculaires, University Paul Sabatier, Toulouse


Contact details

Internal tel3483
Tel+44 (0) 1392 723483
AddressGeoffrey Pope Building
University of Exeter
Stocker Road

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