Dr Amy Cooper

Research Scientist
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
T: +44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)
Dr Amy Cooper has a dual appointment at the James Hutton Institute and is an Environmental Microbiologist in the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences Department and the Policy Impact Officer for CREW. As an Environmental Microbiologist she currently works on and leads a broad range of projects related to environmental contaminants, pathogens, and microplastics. As an Impact Officer she works with CREW to ensure that the right information reaches the right people in the right way at the right time.

Dr Amy Cooper was awarded her PhD in Zoology in 2023 from the University of Aberdeen, where she investigated the interactions between the honey bee (Apis mellifera), the parasitic Varroa mite and the deformed wing virus at the Varroa mite feeding site. She started her first postdoctoral position at the James Hutton Institute soon after, where she first carried out a broad scoping review of environmental exposures to human pathogens. She then embarked on her second position at the Hutton where she worked on and led several projects related to environmental contaminants, pathogens, and microplastics as well as researching methods for working with eDNA. She is now a tenure-track researcher and is particularly interested in the interactions between microplastics, pathogens and invertebrates.

  • PI on Seedcorn: ‘Can Pathogens Use Microplastics on Pollinators to Disperse? (PUMPD)’ 2023-2024.
  • PI on MDT emergency grant: ‘Dirty Hitchhikers: Is plastic pollution acting as a carrier of bird flu?’ 2023-2024
  • Researcher on ‘WFD Review Classification Framework’ (DEFRA), 2024
  • Researcher on ‘ElecTrickle Filtration’, 2024-2025
  • Researcher on JHI-B6-1 (RESAS): ‘Flows of antimicrobial resistance and pathogens through the environment to the food chain’ 2022-2027. Carrying out field and wet-lab work.
  • Researcher on ‘MOT4Rivers’ (NERC), 2022-2026.

Past research

2023-2024 Work package lead: Natural England project ‘Review of biases in metabarcoding primers for DNA analysis’.

2023-2024 Researcher: Natural England project ‘Testing the validity of using eDNA for carbon origin analysis from sediment cores’.

2023-2024 Work package lead: CREW project ‘Emerging contaminants: Informing Scotland’s strategic monitoring and policy approaches on substances of increasing concern’.

2022 – 2023 Researcher: DEFRA: ‘Environmental exposures to human pathogens’.

2018 – 2022 PhD: A Holistic Investigation of the Varroa Mite Feeding Site: Concerning Apis mellifera Gene Regulation, Wound Ultrastructure and the Microbiome.

2020 PIPS: Improving Laboratory Diagnosis of Lyme Disease and Collecting Epidemiological Data for Tick-Borne Diseases.

2017 – 2018 MSc: c-Jun N-terminal kinase signalling not activated in U937 cells treated with vincristine.

Role of JNK signalling in apoptosis driven by microtubule inhibitors.

2014 – 2017 BSc: Methods for determining biocontrol potential of Metarhizium acridum isolates

2013 – 2014 RA with the RSPB: Using dual-sex calls improves the playback census method for a nocturnal burrow-nesting seabird, the Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus.

First spider survey of Grassholm island since the 1930s (2014)

Record for the most isolated Welsh centipede (2014)



Technical / contract reports

  • Avery, L.; Cooper, A. L.; Shortall, O.; Pagaling, E.; Troldborg, M.; Hough, R. (2023) Environmental exposures to human pathogens, Environmental exposures to human pathogens.
    Chief Scientist’s Group report: Environmental Agency.