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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

Dana Druka 2021-

Position: 3rd 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!

Sam Fergusson 2022-

Position: 2nd year postgraduate


Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building




My research aims to develop the approaches used to combine chromatographic separation with high-end analytical techniques such as NMR and Mass Spectrometry to unravel the structure of unknown compounds in complex mixtures. I will explore the application of existing methods and develop new methodologies for the analysis of complex mixtures ranging from peat organic matter to Scotch whisky.


Originally from Leeds, I completed my undergraduate degree in Chemistry (MChem) at the University of Edinburgh. I spent the final year of my undergrad in The Bell Group, investigating the impact of drainage and restoration of peatlands on the activity of enzymes and microbes in peat and its porewater.


Outside of research, I enjoy playing volleyball, cooking/baking, and climbing. I'm excited to join group members on fieldwork and meet fellow academics across the world through the course of my programme.

Eleanor Birch 2022-

Position: 2nd year postgraduate


Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building




My project will approach the molecular basis of peat formation and degradation from a biochemical perspective; using metagenomics to look at the microbiome present and active, high resolution spectrometry to characterize the metabolites produced, and new methods for examining enzymes, with a focus on phenol oxidases identified as central to the ‘enzyme latch’ theory of peat formation.  I am funded by EASTBio, the East of Scotland Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership.

Originally from Grimsby, I completed my undergraduate degree in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry (MChem) at the University of Edinburgh, after starting it with the Open University. I completed my final year masters project with the Campopiano group, looking at the potential biotechnological applications of proteases to the circular economy.

In my free time, I enjoy hillwalking utilising my Mountain Leader qualification, running a Guide unit, and sewing my own clothes.  I am excited to visit the peatlands of Scotland and the rest of the UK through our field work and increase my scientific understanding of them, rather than as I currently know them as a hillwalker.


Niamh Gurrin 2023-

Position: 1st year postgraduate

Office Location: Room 14B, Joseph Black Building



My research focuses on assessing the effectiveness of peatland restoration in a site south of Edinburgh. I will combine standard water quality techniques with high resolution analytical techniques including NMR and mass spectrometry to track changes in this ecosystem. High resolution analytical techniques are needed to resolve and analyse changes in the complex mixtures that are soil and dissolved (water) organic matter. I am an E4 DTP student (NERC funded).

I love doing scientific outreach and communication and I am a public engagement scholar.

I moved here from Ireland where I did my undergraduate degree in Environmental Chemistry in University College Dublin (UCD). My research project was on plasma assisted catalysis for the removal of PFAS pollution from water. I also have a diploma in education from Dublin City University (DCU).


I like hiking, swimming, and running in my free time.


Past PhD/Research Students


Ezra Kitson PhD 2019-2023

Richard York PhD 2018-2023

Gianluca Trifiro PhD 2017-2022

Yufan Zhu Master by Research 2017-2018


Undergraduate Project Students

Renee Chan MChem 2023-

Siyi Zhang BSc 2022/2023

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 MChem 2016/2017

Summer Placements

Mattia Poli NERC Summer Project 2023

Yazhini Vinoth Kumar PGT Summer Project 2022

Wen Ding PGT Summer Project 2020
Francesca Gregory NERC Research Experience Scheme 2017

Visiting Students

Yalini Sadasivam Vellore Institute of Technology 2023

Maryna Korobeinyk Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv 2023

Meg Fitzpatrick University of Chicago 2021

Maeve Gielty University College Dublin 2017

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