Skip to navigation Skip to content

HAPE Core researchers


Dr Lisa M. Avery

Lead -  Centre for Human and Animal Pathogens in the Environment

Lisa is a senior environmental microbiologist in the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences group. She manages and contributes to a portfolio of projects relating to the prevalence and dynamics of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes in waters and catchments. She also has active interest in and a background in water and wastewater treatment and reuse. Currently heading up a team including postdoctoral research scientists, research assistants and PhD students, she has substantial recent experience in AMR, currently leading Scottish Government-funded projects on AMR in the environment, detection of pathogens and microbial source tracking. Lisa has worked extensively on E. coli and faecal indicator organisms, with a particular interest in how their characteristics influence their survival and transmission around catchments. She has undertaken projects in the UK, EU and in developing countries (Africa, India, Bangladesh) including a current NERC Newton Fund UK-India Project on AMR and pollutants in waters. She is an assistant editor for Soil Use and Management and a member of the Scottish FreshWater Group Action Team “Enabling Sustainable Mind-sets.”

Professor Ian Toth

Ian Toth

Ian is a bacteriologist in the Cell and Molecular Sciences group working on bacterial plant and animal pathogens from the family Enterobacteriaceae. He has worked on the interaction between species of Pectobacterium / Dickeya / Erwinia / Pantoea and their plant hosts for over 25 years and has, for the last 10 years, undertaken genome sequencing and functional genomics of these pathogens to better understand the molecular bases of these interactions. In 2006, he published with Leighton Pritchard a genomic comparison between plant and human enteobacterial pathogens (Toth et al. 2006), where it was revealed that horizontally-acquired DNA in human/animal pathogens may play a role in the interaction with plants. These finding are currently being investigated through his collaboration with Nicola Holden and Leighton Pritchard. In addition, he has been involved with Nicola and Leighton in the development of genome-based methodologies for the production of realtime diagnostic primers and probes for both human and plant pathogens. This has led to the production of strain-specific diagnostic primer sets for E. coli O104:H4 involved in a foodborne outbreak in Germany in 2010 (Pritchard et al. 2012).

Dr Eulyn Pagaling

Eulyn is an environmental microbiologist in the Ecological Sciences group. She completed her PhD in environmental microbiology (working on extremophiles) in 2008 at the University of Leicester, and worked at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Hawaii at Manoa prior to her appointment at The James Hutton Institute in 2015. Currently, she works on the prevalence of human and animal pathogens, antimicrobial resistance and pharmaceuticals in the environment

Dr Rupert Hough

Rupert Hough

Rupert leads the Information and Computational Sciences group. His background is in risk and exposure modelling and environmental epidemiology. He has interests in both chemical and biological hazards, especially where they occur together. He has specific interests in modelling the flow of hazards, including pathogens, through food chains using various source-pathway-receptor approaches to estimate subsequent exposure of livestock and/or humans. He has applied these approaches to a number of contexts including health risks associated with application of different organic amendments (composts, sludges, digestates, and manures) to various primary production systems ranging from ready to eat salad production, through to brewing of beer from combinable crop systems. Current work includes the environmental factors affecting the prevalence and spread of Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, the cause of Johne’s disease in cattle.

Dr Dominic Duckett

Dominic Duckett

Dominic is a social scientist in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group. He currently applies social theories of risk to issues around livestock diseases for the Scottish Government’s Centre for Excellence in Epidemiology, Population Health and Disease Control (EPIC). His interests include zoonotic diseases and the particular societal risks that they pose, and socio-technical aspects of risk for example the adoption of disease control and surveillance technologies. Dominic’s current focus is on farmer and other land manager behaviour in relation to animal disease risk and the particular conditions of either policy change or outbreaks. Dominic has been working directly with farmers and other land managers, studying their behaviours through participatory and qualitative methods. A general sociological interest in expert/lay knowledge constructions and the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) underlies these different projects.

Ms. Claire Abel

Claire is a research assistant with over 20 years laboratory experience including nine years in microbiological laboratories and two years with Scottish Water, before joining the Institute in 2002 where she has worked in both the Soils and Catchment Management groups. She has expertise in culture-based microbiology, manages and undertakes environmental sampling regimes and carries out PCR, q-PCR and prepares samples for sequencing.

Dr Ashleigh Holmes

Ashleigh's research interests are in microbial pathogenicity, particularly in the regulation and expression of virulence factors. Her research includes type III secretion system effectors, particularly regulation and expression of non-LEE encoded effectors and how they contribute to  pathogenesis of E. coli O157:H7 in mammals. She is particularly interested in the pathogenesis of E. coli O157:H7 in planta and the factors required for the bacterium’s interaction with plant tissue.



Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/hape/core-researchers on 26/02/24 12:17:58 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.