Current Vacancies
Interested in environmental science with emphasis on chemistry? Not afraid of getting your hands muddy? Check out the latest vacancies:

Would you like to join the Bell group? Get in touch.

PhD/Research Students

Gianluca Trifiro 2017-

Position: 4th year postgraduate


Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building





Originally from Rome, I graduated with a Master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2014. For my thesis I carried out research evaluating the state of contamination by emerging mycotoxins in the national cereal production at the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS, Italy).

After graduation I worked as a researcher at the Zooprophylactic Institute of Puglia and Basilicata (IZSPB, Italy), where I developed and validated a new method for the study of bioaccumulation of algal toxins in vegetables irrigated by water from the Occhito lake.

Richard York 2018-

Position: 4th year postgraduate


Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building




I am funded by the E3 DTP, an Edinburgh based doctoral training partnership who fund environmental research.  My research involves finding new methods of isotopically labelling complex mixtures, specifically peat soils for the improved analysis via high resolution NMR and Mass Spectrometry.

I grew up in Norwich, England but obtained a Masters degree from the University of Edinburgh, undertaking my final year project with Dr Nicholle Bell, working on the solid state analysis of peat soils attempting to distinguish between a restored and damaged site.


When not working, my main interest is in music and I am an active member of the Edinburgh University Brass Band, playing the trumpet.


Ezra Kitson 2019-

Position: 3rd year postgraduate


Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building




My research is focused on understanding the interplay of small molecules and microbes in governing the health of peatlands. To achieve this I am combining techniques used in analytical chemistry (e.g. high resolution NMR, Mass Spectrometry) and microbiology (e.g. metataxonomic sequencing, enzyme assays). One of the interesting challenges of my project is to develop statistical pipelines that can cross compare the datasets these techniques produce.

Originally from Northumberland, I did my undergraduate studies in microbiology at Imperial College London and obtained a masters degree from the University of British Columbia in April 2019 where my thesis project was developing new computational tools to handle viral metagenomic sequencing data.

Outside of research I enjoy writing music, playing in a band and fishing. I’m also excited about field work and getting to visit peatlands across the UK and further afield.

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Dana Druka 2021-

Position: 1st year postgraduate


Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building




My research focusses on creating a simple and cost-effective method to assess peatland health on the molecular level. I am using analytical techniques, such as NMR and mass spectrometry, and a proxy to simplify the complexity of peat and identify chemical markers that could provide information on the success of restoration. I am funded by the E4 DTP, a NERC initiative for environmental research.


Originally from Latvia, I grew up in Fife and obtained my undergraduate degree in Chemistry (MChem) from the University of Aberdeen. My final year thesis focussed on natural products from marine invertebrates for antimicrobial uses. After graduation, I worked in the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group developing sensors.


Aside from research, I enjoy outdoor activities such as mountaineering and cycling. I am interested in learning more about Scottish ecology and getting out into the field!

Past PhD/Research Students


Yufan Zhu Master by Research 2017-2018


Undergraduate Project Students

Anna Parry BSc 2021/2022

Sam Fergusson MChem 2021/2022

Silje Solvag BSc 2020/2021

Sam Webber BSc 2020/2021

Stephen Porter MChem 2019/2020

Mark Wright BSc 2019/2020

William Beishuizen MChem 2018/2019

Tobias Rainer BSc 2018/2019

Richard York MChem 2017/2018

Hannah Corran BSc 2017/2018

Sylvia Battcock MChemX 2016/2017

Summer Placements

Wen Ding PGT Summer Project 2020

Francesca Gregory NERC Research Experience Scheme 2017

Visiting Students

Meg Fitzpatrick University of Chicago 2021

Maeve Gielty University College Dublin 2017