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Dr Michael Macey

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a microbiologist and Research Fellow in the AstrobiologyOU group. My research currently involves investigating the diversity and activity of microbial communities inhabiting extreme environments that are analogous to Mars and other extraterrestrial sites. I also perform simulation experiments to assess the growth dynamics and survival of microbes in simulated extra-terrestrial conditions. My PhD at the University of East Anglia involved characterising the impact of plant growth on trace gas metabolising microbes in the soil environment, with a focus on C1-metabolising microbes and stable isotope probing to identify the active organisms.

2023- Current Research Fellow, School of Environment, School of Earth and Ecosystem Science - Open University

2021-Current Associate Lecturer, School of Environment, School of Earth and Ecosystem Science - Open University

2017-2023 Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Environment, School of Earth and Ecosystem Science - Open University

2013-2017 PhD Environmental Microbiology, School of Environmental Sciences - University of East Anglia

2014 Three month Internship at Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences

2012-2013 Erasmus Year University of Aarhus

Project - The genetic diversity of the Verminephrobacter

2009-2013 BSc (Hons) Biology 1st Class University of York

Project - The isolation and characterisation of Rhizobiophages

Research interests

My current research interest include identifying the limits of life in extreme environments, cleanrooms, and simulated extraterrestrial environments. I am also investigating potential applications of this research through the OU's Open Societal Challenge Scheme. Mt other interests include evolutionary biology, taxonomy and environmental science.

OSC - Extremophiles Against Antibiotic Resistance - The vision of this project is to develop a toolkit to identify novel antibiotics in extreme environments to use in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Extreme environments harbour unique microbes, but their remoteness and complexity have resulted in them being overlooked and there is a high-potential for novel chemistries and genes to be abundant in non-standard environments.

OSC - SPLICE: Sustainable Processes Linked for an Integrated Circular Economy  - This Challenge aims to combat environmental contamination and economic losses due to unsustainable waste management by providing full-system solutions to recover, recycle, and generate valuable materials and energy from wastes. The project aims to accelerate societal change towards reimagining wastes as sources of energy and valuable resources.

Current PhD students: 
Ben Tatton: Understanding the limits of microbial life (Research England)
Velislava Ilieva: The Influence Of Sulfur Cycling On Community Diversity In Hypersaline Mars Analogue Environments (CENTA)
Daniel Loy: Microbial Survival in the Makgadikgadi Basin, Botswana (CENTA)
Ermias Balcha: Antibiotics from the Extreme (Addis Ababa Science and Technology University)

Previous PhD students:
Anushree Srivastava: Habiltability of saline environments on Mars (OU)

Previous Summer students:
James Oliver: Exploring potential biosignatures formed by microbes under martian conditions (Applied Microbiology International and EEES)
Velislava Ilieva: Characterisation of cleanroom microbiomes (Microbiology Society)
Yifan Zhu: Methanogenesis in hypersaline environments (AstrobiologyOU and EEES)

Teaching interests

S111 Questions in science (Module Team Member)

S397 Terrestrial Ecosystem (Associate Lecturer)

 

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Impact and engagement

2023 Open University representative of the European Astrobiology Institute
 
2022 Grant application appraiser for the Microbiology Society
 
2022 Board member for the Microbiology Society journal Microbiology Today
 
2021 Guest editor for the Microbiology Society journal Microbiology
 
2020 – present day Elected to the Building Communities committee for the Microbiology Society
 
2018 – present day Member of the American Society of Microbiology
 
2013 – present day Member of Applied Microbiology International
 
2012 – present day Member of the Microbiology Society

Externally funded projects

Earth and Space Exploration Program 2022: Microbiology in Ladakh
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead10 Jun 202207 Aug 2022Microbiology Society

We plan to provide a course that teaches Indian postgraduate students microbiological and geological techniques at field sites within the Tso Kar region of Ladakh. This training will be provided to groups of students by a team of twelve academics on rotation. This course will be a combination of online lectures and practical work in the field, with the characterisation of samples collected from the multiple sites of scientific interest being developed into research manuscripts. A key component of the microbiological work will be screening for isolates that produce antimicrobial compounds, taking inspiration from the small world initiative, as extreme environments potentially represent a reservoir of undiscovered antimicrobial agents.

Publications

Draft genome sequence of Halobacillus campisalis strain ASL-17 (2024)
Srivastava, Anushree; Macey, Michael Christopher; McGenity, Terry J. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Microbiology Resource Announcements ((Early access))


Diversity of Microbial Mats in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana (2024)
Filippidou, Sevasti; Price, Alex; Spencer-Jones, Charlotte; Scales, Anthony; Macey, Michael C.; Franchi, Fulvio; Lebogang, Lesedi; Cavalazzi, Barbara; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Microorganisms, 12, Article 147(1)


Geochemical biosignature formation in experimental Martian fluvio‐lacustrine and simulated evaporitic settings (2024)
Cogliati, Simone and Macey, Michael C.
Meteoritics & Planetary Science ((early access))


Habitability and Biosignature Formation in Simulated Martian Aqueous Environments (2023-02)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Cogliati, Simone; Toubes-Rodrigo, Mario; Stephens, Ben; Kucukkilic-Stephens, Ezgi; Schwenzer, Susanne; Pearson, Victoria; Preston, Louisa J. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Astrobiology, 23(2) (pp. 144-154)


Sulfur isotopes as biosignatures for Mars and Europa exploration (2022-11-04)
Moreras-Marti, A.; Fox-Powell, M.; Cousins, C. R.; Macey, M. C. and Zerkle, A.L.
Journal of the Geological Society, 179, Article jgs2021-134(6)


Sulfur Cycling as a Viable Metabolism under Simulated Noachian/Hesperian Chemistries (2022-04)
Oliver, James A.W.; Kelbrick, Matthew; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Dugdale, Amy; Stephens, Ben; Kucukkilic-Stephens, Ezgi; Fox-Powell, Mark G.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Antunes, André and Macey, Michael C.
Life, 12, Article 523(4)


Astrobiology as a Driver to Connect India's Public, Scientists, and Space Missions (2022-03-16)
Pandey, Siddharth; Macey, Michael C.; Das, Debashree; Mohanty, Anurup; Tiwari, Satyam; Jose, Jovel Varghese and Sharma, Siddhant
New Space, 10(1) (pp. 51-67)


Oligotrophic Growth of Nitrate-Dependent Fe 2+ -Oxidising Microorganisms Under Simulated Early Martian Conditions (2022-03)
Price, Alex; Macey, Michael C.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Frontiers in Microbiology, 13, Article 800219


Microbes from Brine Systems with Fluctuating Salinity Can Thrive under Simulated Martian Chemical Conditions (2022-01)
Kelbrick, Matthew; Oliver, James A. W.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Dugdale, Amy; Stephens, Ben; Kucukkilic-Stephens, Ezgi; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Antunes, André and Macey, Michael C.
Life, 12(1) (p 12)


Hunting for Life on Mars by Studying Life on Earth (2021-10)
Macey, Michael; Grand, Ann; Fox-Powell, Mark; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Cousins, Claire and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Frontiers for Young Minds, 9, Article 665929


Exploring the environments of Martian impact‐generated hydrothermal systems and their potential to support life (2021-07)
Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Turner, Stuart M. R.; Macey, Michael C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Reed, Mark H.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 56(7) (pp. 1350-1368)


Assembly of Bacterial Genome Sequences from Metagenomes of Spacecraft Assembly Cleanrooms (2021)
Ilieva, Velislava; Steel, Bruce; Pratscher, Jennifer; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Macey, Michael
Microbiology Resource Announcements, 10, Article e01439-20(7)


Soil, senescence and exudate utilisation: characterisation of the Paragon var. spring bread wheat root microbiome (2021)
Prudence, Samuel MM.; Newitt, Jake T.; Worsley, Sarah F.; Macey, Michael C.; Murrell, J. Colin; Lehtovirta-Morley, Laura E. and Hutchings, Matthew I.
Environmental Microbiome, 16, Article 12(1)


Impact of plants on the diversity and activity of methylotrophs in soil (2020-03-10)
Macey, Michael C.; Pratscher, Jennifer; Crombie, Andrew T. and Murrell, J. Colin
Microbiome, 8(31)


Simulating microbial processes in extraterrestrial, aqueous environments (2020-02-29)
Olsson-Francis, K.; Ramkissoon, N. K.; Macey, M.; Pearson, V. K.; Schwenzer, S. P. and Johnson, D. N.
Journal of Microbiological Methods, 172, Article 105883


The identification of sulfide oxidation as a potential metabolism driving primary production on late Noachian Mars (2020)
Macey, M. C.; Fox-Powell, M.; Ramkissoon, N. K.; Stephens, B. P.; Barton, T.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Pearson, V. K.; Cousins, C. R. and Olsson-Francis, K.
Scientific reports, 10, Article 10941


Draft Genome Sequence of Clostridium sp. Strain E02, Isolated from an Estuarine Environment (2019-01-10)
Macey, Michael; Curtis-Harper, Elliot and Olsson-Francis, Karen
Microbiology resource announcements, 8(2)


Draft Genome Sequences of the Nitrate-Dependent Iron-Oxidizing Proteobacteria Acidovorax sp. Strain BoFeN1 and Paracoccus pantotrophus Strain KS1 (2018-09-13)
Price, A.; Macey, M. C.; Miot, J. and Olsson-Francis, K.
Microbiology Resource Announcements, 7, Article e01050-18(10)


Draft Genome Sequences of Obligate Methylotrophs Methylovorus sp. Strain MM2 and Methylobacillus sp. Strain MM3, Isolated from Grassland Soil (2018)
Macey, Michael Christopher; Pratscher, Jennifer; Crombie, Andrew and Murrell, J. Colin
Microbiology Resource Announcements, 7, Article e00824-18(8)


Fifty important research questions in microbial ecology (2017-05-01)
Antwis, Rachael E.; Griffiths, Sarah M.; Harrison, Xavier A.; Aranega-Bou, Paz; Arce, Andres; Bettridge, Aimee S.; Brailsford, Francesca L.; de Menezes, Alexandre; Devaynes, Andrew; Forbes, Kristian M.; Fry, Ellen L.; Goodhead, Ian; Haskell, Erin; Heys, Chloe; James, Chloe; Johnston, Sarah R.; Lewis, Gillian R.; Lewis, Zenobia; Macey, Michael C.; McCarthy, Alan; McDonald, James E.; Mejia-Florez, Nasmille L.; O’Brien, David; Orland, Chloé; Pautasso, Marco; Reid, William D. K.; Robinson, Heather A.; Wilson, Kenneth and Sutherland, William J.
FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93, Article fix044(5)


Earthworm ecology affects the population structure of their Verminephrobacter symbionts (2016-05)
Viana, Flávia; Jensen, Christopher Erik; Macey, Michael; Schramm, Andreas and Lund, Marie Braad
Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 39(3) (pp. 170-172)


The Study of Microbial Survival in Extraterrestrial Environments Using Low Earth Orbit and Ground-Based Experiments (2018-10)
Olsson-Francis, Karen; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Price, Alex B.; Slade, David J.; Macey, Michael C. and Pearson, Victoria K.
In: Gurtler, Volker and Trevors, Jack T. eds. Microbiology of Atypical Environments. Methods in Microbiology (pp. 27-65)
ISBN : 978-0-12-814604-0 | Publisher : Elsevier


Biogeochemical Cycling in Globally Distributed Hypersaline Environments (2023-07)
Macey, Michael; Balcha, Ermias; Schwenzer, Susanne; Miruts, Hagos; Gomez, Felipe; Cavalazzi, Barbara and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 10th FEMS Congress of European Microbiologists (9-13 Jul 2023, Hamburg, Germany)


The habitability of water from distinct martian environments (2023)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Baharier, Bea; Steele, Andrew; Kucukkilic-Stephens, Ezgi; Stephens, Ben; Schwenzer, Susanne; Pearson, Victoria and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : ASB9: Celebrating 20 Years of the Astrobiology Society of Britain (7-8 Sep 2023, Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck, University of London)


The habitability of distinct martian environments (2023)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Baharier, Bea; Steele, Andrew; Kucukkilic-Stephens, Ezgi; Stephens, Ben; Schwenzer, Susanne; Pearson, Victoria and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : European Astrobiology Network Association EANA 2023 (19-22 Sep 2023, Madrid)


Identification of inorganic biosignatures in simulated gale crater aqueous environment studied through thermochemical modelling (2023)
Cogliati, Simone and Macey, Michael
In : 54th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, (13-17 Mar 2023, Houston (Texas, US).)


Functional potential of microbial communities within the Western Sahara salt plains and implications for life on early Mars (2023)
Ilieva, Velislava; Goodall, Tim; Read, Daniel; Pearson, Victoria; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Macey, Michael
In : Astrobiology Society of Britain 9 (ASB9) (07-08 Sep 2023, Birbeck, University of London, London)


Active microbial sulfur cycling in the Western Sahara salt plains and implications for life on early Mars (2023)
Ilieva, Velislava; Goodall, Tim; Read, Daniel; Pearson, Victoria; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Macey, Michael
In : European Astrobiology Network Association EANA 2023 (19-22 Sep 2023, Madrid, Spain)


First insights into the chemistry and microbial community composition of the Western Sahara salt plains, a potential Mars analogue (2022)
Ilieva, Velislava; Stephens, Ben; Goodall, Tim; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Read, Daniel; Pearson, Victoria; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Macey, Michael
In : Geomicrobiology Research In Progress Meeting (30 Jun - 1 Jul 2022, University of Huddersfield)


Western Sahara salt plains as a potential novel Mars analogue (2022)
Ilieva, Velislava; Stephens, Ben; Goodall, Tim; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Read, Daniel; Pearson, Victoria; Olsson-Francis, Karen and Macey, Michael
In : Europlanet Science Congress 2022 (18-23 Sep 2022, Granada, Spain)


Geochemical Energy Available to Microbes in Martian Impact Craters (2021)
Ramkissoon, Nisha; Turner, Stuart; Macey, Michael; Schwenzer, Susanne; Reed, M.H.; Pearson, Victoria and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2021 (15-19 Mar 2021, Virtual)


Colour Peak:An analogue environment for the waters of late Noachian Mars (2020-08-28)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha; Fox-Powell, Mark; Barton, Tim; Stephens, Ben P.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Cousins, Claire R. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : EANA 2020 (27-28 Aug 2020, Online)


Testing the habitability of distinct simulated martian environments (2020)
Macey, Michael C.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : AbGradE 2020 (26/08/2020, Online)


Colour Peak: An analogue environment for late Noachian Mars (2020)
Macey, Michael C.; Fox-Powell, Mark; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Stephens, Ben P.; Barton, Tim; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Cousins, Claire R. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : Astrobiology Australasia Meeting (9-11 Sep 2020, Online)


The identification of sulfide oxidation as potential metabolism driving primary production on late Noachian Mars (2020)
Macey, Michael C; Fox-Powell, Mark; Ramkissoon, Nisha K; Baharier, Bea; Oliver, James A W; Stephens, Ben; Schwenzer, Susanne P; Pearson, Victoria K; Cousins, Claire R and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (15-19 Mar 2020 (Virtual), Houston, USA)


Viable metabolisms in a simulated martian environments (2019-06-24)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : AbSciCon 2019 (24-28 Jun 2019, Bellevue, Washington)


The microbial diversity of a sulfur-rich and saline cold pool in the Canadian high Arctic (2019-04-08)
Macey, Michael Christopher; Stephens, Ben; Fox-Powell, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Cousins, Claire R. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2019 (8-11 Apr 2019, ICC Belfast, UK)


Viable metabolisms in a simulated martian chemical environment (2019-04-08)
Macey, Michael; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2019 (8-11 Apr 2019, ICC Belfast, UK)


Microbial growth in simulated martian environments (2018)
Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Macey, Michael C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : European Planetary Science Congress 2018 (16-21 Sep 2018, Berlin, Germany)


Arctic microbes – The phylogenetic and functional diversity of prokaryotes at Colour Peak (2018)
Macey, Michael Christopher; Fox-Powell, Mark; Stephens, Ben; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Cousins, Claire R. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : Molecular Microbial Ecology Group (MMEG) Meeting 2018 (17-19 Dec 2018, Swansea)


Prokaryotes at Colour Peak – An analogue for the Icy Moons (2018)
Macey, Michael C; Stephens, Ben; Fox-Powell, Mark; Cousins, Claire R.; Schwenzer, Susanne P; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : EANA 2018 (24-28 Sep . 2018, Berlin)


Viable metabolisms in a simulated martian chemical environment (2018)
Macey, Michael C.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : AbGradE Symposium 2018 (22-24 Sep 2018, Berlin)


Characterisation of novel isolates from an Enceladan analogue (2018)
Macey, Michael C.; Fox-Powell, Mark; Cousins, Claire R.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : AbGradE Symposium 2018 (22-24 Sep 2018, Berlin, Germany)


Simulating martian environments for microbial growth experiments (2018)
Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Macey, Michael C.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 12th International Congress of Extremophiles (16-20 Sep 2018, Ischia, Naples)


Prokaryotes at Colour Peak – An analogue for the Icy Moons (2018)
Macey, Michael C.; Stephens, Ben; Fox-Powell, Mark; Cousins, Claire R.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 12th International congress of Extremophiles (16-20 Sep 2018, Ischia, Naples)


The impact of martian brine chemistry on the growth of microorganisms (2017)
Macey, Michael C.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 1st British Planetary Science Congress (3-5 Dec 2017, Glasgow)


The impact of martian chemistry on the metabolism of methanogenic archaea (2017)
Macey, Michael C.; Ramkissoon, Nisha K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Pearson, Victoria K. and Olsson-Francis, Karen
In : 7th Astrobiology Society of Britain Conference (13-14 Sep 2017, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)