Marine Biological Association (MBA) profiles

Current Final Years

Ellie Murphy

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with Bristol + Marine Biological Association (MBA)


Ellie graduated from the University of Bristol in 2020 with a BSc in Biology. In 2019, she carried out a summer placement in Dr Andy Bailey’s lab, extracting and sequencing Trichoderma DNA to facilitate species identification. Her final year project was carried out in Prof Alistair Hetherington’s lab, investigating the involvement of ABA in dark-induced stomatal closure.

Ellie is excited to pursue the field of cell signalling. Her PhD project supervised by Prof Alistair Hetherington and Dr Glen Wheeler involves use of the Mesolens microscope at the Marine Biological Association to investigate how calcium signalling in stomatal guard cells is coordinated across a leaf, and the spatial coordination of stress responses in diatom populations.

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Current Second Years

Beth Tindall-Jones

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of the Exeter + The Marine Biological Association (MBA)


Beth graduated from Newcastle University in 2018 with a BSc in Marine Biology and graduated from Plymouth University in 2021 with a MRes in Marine Biology. Beth’s Masters project was supervised by Dr Michael Cunliffe and Dr Nathan Chrismas and focused on the trait distribution of marine lichen on the rocky shore, and the symbiont activity in the Lichen Lichina pygmaea at high and low tide. Beth has also worked and volunteered in several marine biological roles over the years, mostly in education and public engagement. For her PhD project Beth will be under the supervision of Dr Stephen Michell, Dr Michael Cunliffe and Professor Mike Allen looking into biotechnological potential of marine fungi. She is specifically investigating the marine fungi bioprocessing of seaweed, aiming to understand the fundamental biology behind fungal growth and then assessing the biotechnological potential of this process.

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Current First Years

Imran Luqman

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of the Exeter + Marine Biological Association

Hailing from Malaysia, Imran developed a deep interest in evolution and embryology during his undergraduate years (BSc in Marine Biology). Adamant on being a researcher in evolutionary-developmental biology, he pursued an MSc with Dr Chema Martin-Duran at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). At QMUL, Imran researched the gene regulatory network that regulates Metazoan body plans, which aided in answering some pivotal questions in animal evolution.

At the University of Exeter, Imran’s PhD will expand further on his skills and knowledge in a similar field as his MSc. Earlier this year, he was awarded a scholarship from the Southwest Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership to study the mechanisms underlying coral larval settlement under Drs Elizabeth Williams and Vengamanaidu Modepalli. Using transcriptome sequencing and gene expression analyses, Imran hopes to contribute to our understanding of coral recruitment and the evolution of larval sensory systems.

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