Dr Cecile Gubry-Rangin

Dr Cecile Gubry-Rangin
Dr Cecile Gubry-Rangin

Dr Cecile Gubry-Rangin



School of Biological Sciences,
Cruickshank Building,
University of Aberdeen,
St Machar Drive,
Aberdeen AB24 3UU
Scotland, United Kingdom


2016 - 2021 : Royal Society University Research Fellowship in evolutionary microbial ecology, University of Aberdeen 

2012 - 2015 : Early-career NERC Fellowship in evolutionary microbial ecology, University of Aberdeen

2009 - 2012 : Post-doctoral researcher in microbial ecology, University of Aberdeen, JI Prosser and GW Nicol group

2005 - 2008 : PhD student in bacterial population genetics, University of Montpellier (France), under the supervision of G Béna and JC Cleyet-Marel

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Organiser of the School of Biological Sciences weekly scientific seminar series (2017-present)
  • Member of the School of Biological Sciences Research committee (2017-present)
  • Member of the University of Aberdeen Strategic Plan meeting (2018)
  • Internal PhD examiner (2018-present)
  • Annual review appraiser (2017-present)
  • Mentor for PDRA applying for independent fellowships (2016-present)
External Memberships

Editorial Board: Microbiome, Environmental microbiome, Frontiers in Microbiology

Commission of trust: Expert member of the French HCERES (High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education) as co-president (2017) and president (2019) of the commission

Grant panel member: Royal Society Hooke Committee, NERC Advanced Training Short Course

Conference organisation: XVIth archaeal workshop (2019); Member of local organising committee for the 20th European Nitrogen Cycle Conference (2016) and 14th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology (2017)

Grant review: NSF

External PhD examiner

Referee for several journals, including ISME Journal, Environmental Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Evolution, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, PLOS One, Frontiers in Microbiology, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Microbial Ecology, Archaea

Membership of professional bodies: SGM (Society of General Microbiology), SMBE (Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution), ISME (International Society of Microbial Ecology), Nitrification network


Research Overview

My research is directed toward understanding ecological adaptation of microorganism populations.

My work interest is orientated on microbial diversity and ecological function for microbes playing fundamental processes in the global biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen. I am currently more focused on microorganisms (both archaea and bacteria) implicated in the ammonia oxidation process.

My fundamental aims are to determine the environmental factors controlling their community structure and diversity and to understand their physiological and evolutionary adaptation.

Current Research

Research Areas

  • Long-term evolution of Thaumarchaeota
  • Ecology and physiology of archaeal nitrifiers
  • Cultivation of Thaumarchaeota
  • Metagenomics of uncultivated archaea

Research Group (picture 2018)

Current members

  • Miss Heather RICHMOND (Lab manager / research technician)
  • Dr Paul SHERIDAN (postdoctoral researcher): Ecology and evolution of non-ammonia oxidisers (NERC 2018-2021).
  • Dr Yiyu (Angus) MENG (Research technician): Genomics of non-ammonia oxidising archaea (NERC 2018-2021).
  • Mr William WILLIAMS (PhD student): Unravelling the metabolic versatility and diversity of abundant but unexplored terrestrial Thaumarchaeota (Royal Society 2017-2021).
  • Miss Jasmeet BHAMBRA (PhD student): Ecology of acidophilic ammonia oxidisers (University of Aberdeen 2018-2021).
  • Dr Biji Shibulal (MRes student): HGT in Thaumarchaeota (2010-2020).

Past members

Post-doctoral researchers:

  • Dr Axel AIGLE (NERC postdoctoral researcher). 2016-2018. Functional redundancy in ammonia oxidiser communities.
  • Dr Jun ZHAO (NERC postdoctoral researcher). 2017-2018. Ammonia oxidiers in tropical soils.
  • Dr Cecile-Elodie THION (postdoctoral researcher). 2014-2015. Functional redundancy in ammonia oxidiser communities.


  • Dr Emma Beaton (2019-2020)

PhD students:

  • Dr Marcus BELLO (PhD student). 2015-2018. co-I. Ecological implications of ammonia affinity for archaeal and bacterial ammonia ecology in soil.
  • Dr Lloyd POTTS (PhD student). 2016-2018. co-I. Site-specific DNA- and RNA- based biomarkers to monitor low-level oil pollution and test the effectiveness of bioremediation approaches.
  • Dr Linda HINK (PhD student). co-I. 2013-2017. Influence of archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidisers on nitrous oxide emissions in soils.
  • Miss Maria SPULER (PhD student). 2016. Visiting student from Chile. Effect of pre and post-emergent herbicides on N mineralization process in urea fertilized volcanic soils to improve wheat production.
  • Dr Eva WEBER (PhD student). 2013-2017. Unravelling the unknown function of an under-explored but abundant archaeal group using single-cell genomics.

MSc/undergraduate students:

  • Mr Daniel WARDAK (MSc student). 2019. Soil compaction impact on nitrification.
  • Mr Lewis Cowie (Undergraduate). 2017. Phylogenetic reconstruction of ancestral ammonia oxidation.
  • Mr Keir HUGUES (Undergraduate). 2017. Acidophilic Thaumarchaeota in soils.
  • Mr Emmanuel Langst (MSc ERASMUS-Germany). 2017. Physiological and genomic characterisation of acidophilic nitrite oxidizer.
  • Mr Eduard VICO OTON (MSc student). 2015. Phylogenetic coherence and congruence in Thaumarchaeota.
  • Miss Noemie HAUSS (Msc, ERASMUS-France). 2015. Influence of oxygen on ecology of Group 1.1c Thaumarchaeota.
  • Mr Michael LUKUMBUZYA (Msc). 2015. Ecological importance of a novel acidophilic nitrite-oxidizing bacterium
  • Miss Anja STANJKO (Msc, ERASMUS - Slovenia). 2014. Single-cell sorting of alkalinophilic Thaumarchaeota
  • Miss Linda HINK (Msc, ERASMUS - Germany). 2013. Physiology of a novel acidophilic nitrite-oxidizing bacterium
  • Miss Urse KRUGER (Msc, ERASMUS -Denmark). 2013. Effect of pH, temperature and organic substrates on Thaumarchaeota
  • Miss Eva WEBER (Msc, ERASMUS -Slovenia). 2012. Ammonium sources for archaeal and bacterial ammonia-oxidisers
  • Miss Laura SANGUINO (Msc). 2011. Effect of methane on terrestrial ammonia oxidizing Thaumarchaea
  • Miss Breda NOVOTNIK (Msc, ERASMUS -Slovenia). 2010. Temperature affects thaumarchaeotal communities

Past research Group (2017)

Funding and Grants

Awarded as PI

  • Royal Society Talent Grant (2020-2021): "Evolution of ammonia oxidation"
  • Royal Society Enhancement Grant (2018-2022): "Experimental evolution of Thaumarchaeota". 
  • NERC standard grant (2017- 2021): "Evolution of thaumarchaeotal metabolism under contrasting oxygen conditions". 
  • Royal Society starting grant (2017-2021): "Unravelling the metabolic versatility and diversity of abundant but unexplored terrestrial Thaumarchaeota". 
  • University of Aberdeen PhD studentship (2017-2021): "Adaptation of Thaumarchaeota in terrestrial environments". 
  • NERC Directed grant (2017-2018): "Greenhouse gas emissions by soil microbes in tropical forest". 
  • Royal Society University Research Fellowship (2016-2021): "Adaptation in Thaumarchaeota: the interplay between ecology and evolution".
  • NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility Application (2015): "Single-cell comparative genomics of Thaumarchaeota". 
  • Early career NERC Independent Fellowship (2012-2016): “Evolutionary adaptation in archaea”.  
  • PhD studentship (2013-2016) funded by the Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology and Medicine: “Unravelling the unknown function of an under-explored but abundant archaeal group using single-cell genomics”. 
  • NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility Application (2013): “Phylogenetic resolution and coherence in thaumarchaea”.  
  • NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility Application (2013): “Evolutionary adaptation in archaea- community sequencing”.  
  • MRT (French Research Ministry) Postgraduate Scholarship (2005-2008)
  • European ERASMUS Traineeship Grant (2004)
  • ESA (European Space Agency) Traineeship Grant (2003)

Awarded as CoI

  • Post-doctoral NERC standard grant (2014-2018): “Soil ammonia oxidisers: an embarrassment of richness?” with JI Prosser (PI) and GW Nicol (CoI). 
  • NERC Directed international grant (2018-2021): "Forecasting biodiversity losses in Wallacea from ecological and evolutionary patterns and processes" with J Travis (PI), L Lancaster (CoI), G Bocedi (CoI), A Algar (CoI) and A Papadopoulos (CoI).


Teaching Responsibilities

Current Supervision

3 PhD students, 1 MSc student.


Course co-coordinator:

  • Meet the scientists

Lectures at undergraduate level:

  • Ocean Biology
  • Diversity of life 

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