Ashley Richards Brown


Specific Research Interests

My primary research interests include the geomicrobiology of nuclear environments with particular attention to bacterial metabolism of uranium and its isotopes. Previous work has also focused on the physiological impacts of ionizing radiation and the implications for the biogeochemical cycling of redox-active metals.

Environmental radiation biology, nuclear geomicrobiology, ionizing radiation, microbial metabolism, metabolomics, and radiation resistance/sensitivity.

2017-present Postdoc, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

I am currently a postdoc on an ERC Grant awarded to Prof. Rizlan Bernier-Latmani

UNEARTH: Uranium isotope fractionation: a novel biosignature to identify microbial metabolism on early Earth

This project assesses uranium isotope fractionation during transformation by a range of metabolically diverse bacteria. U isotope analyses coupled with other traditional stable isotope analyses will allow us to use this fingerprint to identify distinct metabolisms on Early Earth

2015-2017 Postdoc, Eawag, ETH Domain, Zürich, Switzerland

This Swiss NSF project aimed to characterise the redox properties of iron-bearing minerals by combined electrochemical and spectroscopic analyses.

As a geomicrobiologist, my role focused on redox transformations mediated by Fe(III)-reducing bacteria, such as Shewanella oneidensis and Geobacter sulfurreducens .

This multidisciplinary project was a collaboration with Thomas Hofstetter (Eawag), Michael Sander & Meret Aeppli (ETH Zürich) and Andreas Voegelin (Eawag).

2014-2015 Postdoc, University of Manchester, UK

This short postdoc in the Geomicrobiology Research Group and at the Dalton Cumbrian Facility allowed me to investigate the impact of ionizing radiation on the interface between the metabolism of subsurface microbes and materials relevant to the geological disposal of radioactive waste.

In addition, I also optimised novel biogenic metal catalysts for the enhanced recovery of oil as part of an EPSRC funded collaboration with the University of Birmingham.

Ph.D. 2013 Geomicrobiology, University of Manchester, UK

I completed my doctorate in the University of Manchester Geomicrobiology Research Group, under the supervision of Profs. Jon Lloyd, Roy Goodacre and Simon Pimblott. Here, my research focused on the geomicrobiology of nuclear environments with particular attention to:

  • physiological impacts of ionizing radiation in Fe(III)-reducing bacteria

  • radiation damage in Fe(III)-oxides

  • implications for the biogeochemical cycling of redox-active metals

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