September 2023. From left: Mark van der Giezen, Yohannes Seyoum, Vera Sideraki, Rey Toleco, Ankana Banerjee, and Luz Martinez Contreras.

Group leader

Dr Mark van der Giezen
Professor of Biological Chemistry (mark.vandergiezen{at}

My research mainly focusses on intestinal microbiology and adaptations to the environmental conditions in the animal gut. The topic of my Ph.D. at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) and subsequent postdoc at the Natural History Museum (London, UK) focussed on rumen microbes that play an important role in animal nutrition. The topic shifted partly to human intestinal parasites during my postdoc at Royal Holloway, University of London (UK). During my lectureship (~Assistant Professor) at Queen Mary, University of London (UK), research focussed on biochemical adaptations to life without oxygen as found in the intestine. I moved to the University of Exeter (UK) in 2007 as Senior Lecturer and became an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry. In Exeter, my work partly moved back to how microbes play important roles in livestock and the role of the microbiome on animal health. I became Theme Lead for Aquatic Diseases for the new Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures in 2017 because of my growing interest in disease in aquaculture. Since Summer 2019, I am a Professor of Biological Chemistry at the Centre for Organelle Research at the University of Stavanger in Norway. Here, I continue my research on important human and animal parasites and have established strong research links with the academic hospital in Stavanger.

CV Mark van der Giezen

Postdoctoral scientists

Dr Martin Watson, Molecular Intestinal Microbiology (martin.watson{at}
This project will bring together expertise in intestinal disease, clinical histopathology and intestinal molecular microbiology. Stavanger University Hospital has been involved in several clinical trials (led by clinician Tore Grimstad) aimed at understanding inflammatory bowel disease, treatment and improving quality of life. This project is funded by the Norwegian Government
and jointly supervised by Professor Emiel Janssen and Professor Tore Grimstad (Stavanger University Hospital).

Dr Eva Pyrihová, Molecular Parasitology (eva.pyrihova{at}
Oomycetes are a large group of protists that include various pathogens of crops and animals. I am interested how mitochondrial biochemical peculiarities can be exploited to tackle these diseases. Using a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biology I will work on the intestinal parasite Blastocystis which is found in the gut many people around the world. This project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and is a collaboration with Professor Edmund Kunji at the University of Cambridge and Dr. Tasos Tsaousis at the University of Kent.


MitchellRey Toleco, PhD student (mitchellrey.toleco{at}
This project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Research technician

Luz Martinez Contreras, research technician (la.martinezcontreras{at}
Luz is a molecular biologist with biomedical research experience and supports the team and helps with our students.


Gill Tawse, MSc student Veterinary Microbiology (gl.tawse{at}
This is a joint project with the veterinary unit from NMBU in Sandnes. We are interested to develop better diagnostics for common bacterial pathogens in the Norwegian pig industry. Methods include molecular biology and microbiology.

Ine Holand, MSc student Molecular Parasitology (i.holand{at}
This project is part of Eva and Rey's NFR-funded research project into the unusual biochemistry of the intestinal parasite Blastocystis. Methods include molecular biology and microbiology.


Marthe Tofthagen. Former MSc-student (2021-2022).
Dr. Franziska Trusch. Former postdoc (2021-2022).

Dr. Georgios Kontellas. Former PhD-student (2015-2021).

Dr. Skye Marshall. Former PhD-student (2016-2021).

Dr. Anabel Rice. Former PhD-student (2017-2021), now Operational policy officer at the Food Standards Agency.

Regine Haugland. Former MSc-student (2020-2021).

Kaneez Fatima. Former MSc-student (2019-2020), now PhD-student at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Dr Corey Holt. Former PhD-student (2015-2018) and postdoc (2019-2020), now Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Britsh Columbia, Canada.

Dr Maulood Turfah. Former PhD-student (2014-2019), now Lecturer at the University of Baghdad, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Parasitology.

Dr Jamie McFadzean. Former PhD-student (2014-2019), now Senior Policy Advisor at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Dr Diana Minardi. Former PhD-student (2013-2017), now Molecular Biologist at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

Dr Sheera Abdulla. Former PhD-student (2011-2016), now Laboratory Manager at The Rosalind Franklin Institute.

Dr Michael Bottery. Former
MRes-student Bioinformatics (2013), now Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of York.
Dr Maria Siegesmund.
Former PhD-student (2007-2011) & post-doc (2011), now working at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Department of Experimental Phycology and Culture Collection of Algae, Germany and retrained as secondary school science teacher.
Dr Kerem Terali.
Former PhD-student (2006-2010), now Associate Professor at the Near East University in Cyprus
Dr Kailash Chand.
Former Post-doc (2009-2010), now Scientist E ( Ramalingaswami Fellow) at the National Institute for Research in Environmental Health in India.
Dr Joseph Harvey.
Former Wellcome Trust Vacation Scholar (Summer 2010). Now at Appleton Woods Ltd.
Dr Ifeanyi Nwachukwu.
Former MSc Biocatalysis student (2009), now Assistant Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, USA.
Dr Nebibe Mutlu.
Former Erasmus placement student (Summer 2009), now Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, USA.
Dr Karleigh Hamblin. Former PhD-student (2005-2008), now at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down.
Dr Matthew Rogers.
Former Post-doc (2007-2008), now Assistant Professor at the Medical School at the University of Pittsburgh, USA.