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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Lynsay Blake, PhD, MSc, BSc

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Biosciences
Daphne Jackson Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering
Room number: E247 (Higginson)

(email at lynsay.i.blake@durham.ac.uk)

Professional training

  • Aurora programme, Developing Leaders for Higher Education, AdvanceHE, 2019
  • Introduction to R and Statistics for biologists, PR Statistics, 2018
  • Introduction to coding for bioinformatics, Newcastle University, 2016
  • Communicating Science, Newcastle University, 2016
  • Certificate in Management and Leadership, Chartered Management Institute, 2012
  • Project management, PRINCE 2 (Projects in controlled environments), Practitioner, APM-Group, 2012

Research and teaching experience

My fundamental research focuses on providing greater understanding of the response of microbial communities (important to the carbon cycle) to perturbation in high latitude and temperate environments. This relates to understanding microbial response to future climate change scenarios, but also explores the limits of microbial life, and microbial distribution. It has also provided evidence of unique low temperature adapted methanogens in Arctic sediments which has been used in the development of sustainable low temperature waste water treatment processes. My cross-disciplinary research focuses on addressing the challenge of sustainable production and consumption. In this, I draw upon my biogeochemical background, industrial experience and experience of working across socio-technical boundaries, to assess the implications of current solid waste disposal practices on our ecosystem, and explore how we can best integrate agricultural and municipal solid wastes into the circular economy in the UK, and Southern Africa. I currently hold a Daphne Jackson Research fellowship at Durham University entitled ‘Integrating solid waste into the circular economy’, where I am investigating the effect of intensive circular processes on contaminants and the microbiome.

I have experience of teaching at bachelor and masters levels. In 2016 I was the principal lecturer for a second year undergraduate Environmental Science module Research Methods in Environmental Pollution, where I developed course content, led field work, and lectures. Between 2012 and 2019 have developed and delivered lectures for courses such as Geographies of Sustainability, Environmental Consultancy and Geochemistry, in areas of ‘Interdisciplinary approaches to research’, and ‘Methane production in natural and engineered environments’. I have also co-developing an interdisciplinary peer-to-peer seminar series for doctoral researchers entitled ‘Being a Specialist in a Complex world’ (2013-2014). In 2016 I received an award from the United Nations University for my contribution to ‘Education in Sustainable Development’ for my leadership of Cinema Politica Newcastle.  Each year since 2010 I have supervised successful student research projects (MSc, MReS and ERASMUS).

Reviewer for

  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore (2020)
  • British Council, Newton Fund (2018 - present)
  • International Science Council, LIRA2020 (2016 - 2020)

Research Groups

Department of Engineering

Research Interests

  • Circular economy, Waste treatment and reuse, Health and Environment, Microbial Ecology, Extremes of microbial life

Indicators of Esteem

  • A sustainable future: The role of microbiology in achieving the UN SDGs - Invited advisor (Circular Economy), Microbiology Society:
  • United Nations University award for contribution to Education in Sustainable Development:

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Journal Article

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Selected Grants

  • 2018: 'Exploring opportunities for circular nutrient economies in grassland farming systems' N8 Seed corn (£30k) Co-Investigator
  • 2015: 'Nature and nuture: Linking causitaive agents in the environment with increased incidence of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)' Seed corn funding, Newcastle University (£10k) Co-Investigator
  • 2015: 'Sustainability options for multi-storey communities' Industrial and EPSRC IAA funding (£160k) Co-Investigator
  • 2012: 'Determining biogenic and non-biogenic mass components in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) streams by thermal decomposition analysis' Innovate UK (£18.5k) Industrial lead