Laura Branscombe

Laura Branscombe


I graduated from Plymouth University in 2016 with a BSc in Marine Biology. It was here that I decided I wanted to pursue a research career in marine microbiology after I focused my final year dissertation on the interactions between pathogenic Vibrio species and marine fungi.

After graduation I spent 12 months working in a commercial microbiology lab in order to fund my master’s course in Oldenburg, Germany. During my 2 years in Oldenburg, I have been able to focus my studies on marine microbiology, specifically microbial interactions in the marine environment. During my final year of the course, I have been working on the isolation and investigation of the bioactive microbial members of deep-sea sponge microbiomes in order to search for antimicrobial compounds.

I will graduate from the University of Oldenburg in September 2019 with an MSc in Microbiology, and I am then looking forward to returning to Plymouth University to undertake my PhD in ‘Diatom-bacteria interactions: deciphering the impacts on algal bloom regulation and toxicity’.

Laura Branscombe

Environmental Genomics and Microbiology

Marine Biological Association of the UK

PhD title: Diatom-bacteria interactions: deciphering impacts on algal bloom regulation and toxicity

In this project I aim to characterise the key signalling mechanisms which mediate diatom interactions with other microbes, such as competitors, symbionts, predators and pathogens.

The first aim of this area of research will be to isolate microbes commonly associated with important diatom groups, and to identify which of their metabolites elicit responses in diatoms. Further to this, I aim to investigate how these mechanisms impact diatom cell biology and ecology, primarily focusing on the toxic diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia.

This work will provide a deeper insight into the population dynamics and toxicity of harmful algal blooms.


Further Information

I was an active member and financial co-ordinator of the newly formed 500 Women Scientists Oldenburg Pod from October 2018 – September 2019. The role included gaining financial backing from sponsors and liaising with financial bodies at the University of Oldenburg, as well as organising and participating in public outreach events such as city festivals and university talks.