Group Members

Dr Annemette Kjeldsen - Lab Manager

Annemette moved from Denmark to Scotland to obtain an MChem in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry in the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. After this she began working in industrial biotechnology at Ingenza Ltd. as part of a multidisciplinary team working towards developing biosynthetic routes for production of high value chemicals. In 2016 she started an IBioIC-sponsored PhD with Professor John Christie at the University of Glasgow in close collaboration with Ingenza as the industrial partner. Her PhD focused on developing and characterising the fluorescent protein iLOV and its derivatives, and the applications of this as a biosensor reporter and protein marker in an industrial setting. Annemette joined the Wallace group in 2021 to work on microbial pathway engineering and whole-cell biotransformations towards the sustainable production of small molecules. She also is the lab-manager of the group.
When not keeping the lab in line, she enjoys time with her family and tending to her oversized garden in the countryside, bringing in apples for everyone to bake crumbles. Because no-one can pronounce all the vowels in her name, she usually goes by AM – this does not mean she is a morning person before her coffee. 



Dr Marcos Valenzuela Ortega

Marcos obtained a BSc in Biotechnology from the Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona. He moved to Scotland in 2014 to work in Ingenza Ltd, to engineer new metabolic pathways in bacteria. In 2016, Marcos joined the University of Edinburgh to pursue a PhD in the lab of Professor Chris French, funded by EastBio. The doctoral project aimed at engineering microbes to break down cellulose, with a focus on developing new methodologies for candidate generation and screening. After completing his PhD, he worked in the lab of Prof. Louise Horsfall to develop Synbio tools for a non-model bacterium. Marcos joined the Wallace lab in November 2021 to work in an industrial collaboration seeking the sustainable generation of an industrial feedstock chemical.






Dr Thomas Thorpe

Tom joined the Wallace Lab in early 2022 as a PDRA and is exploring the intracellular localisation of biocompatible chemical catalysts to expand the number of small molecules that can be produced using microbes. Previously he worked as a Research Scientist at an industrial biotechnology company, Ingenza, before perusing an iCASE PhD in Chemistry and PDRA under the supervision of Prof. Nicholas Turner at the University of Manchester where he identified and engineered new biocatalysts for the asymmetric synthesis of pharmaceuticals. My research interest covers biocatalysis, chemo-enzymatic synthesis, and biocompatible chemistry with an overall focus on application of biology for sustainable industrial chemical production. He is originally from the West Country and enjoys coffee, live music, and hiking.





Dr Liz Lau

Liz undertook her MEng in Chemical Engineering and Energy Engineering at Heriot Watt University, where she also completed her PhD under Dr. Humphrey Yiu in enzyme immobilisation and nanomaterials.  
Since she's joined the Wallace Lab in Summer 2022, she has worked on a variety of different whole cell biotransformations (and learned a lot of biology). 
Outside the lab Liz is often at a gig, crocheting amigurumi or doing a tarot card reading. 







Dr Yuta Era

Yuta grew up in Fukuoka, Japan, a city known for having arguably the best cuisine in the country. After earning his MEng from Kyushu University, he pursued a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, where he investigated the applications of biogenic metal nanocatalysts in the fields of green chemistry and biocompatible chemistry. Upon completing his PhD, Yuta joined the Wallace lab in April 2023. His current focus is the development of a whole-cell biocatalysis system that utilises underexplored P450 enzymes to transform fatty acid-rich waste into valuable industrial chemicals. Yuta is also working on E. coli pathway engineering to convert post-consumer PET into pharmaceuticals.






Dr Ben Astles

Ben completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh, studying Biological Sciences with Honours in Biotechnology. He stayed in Edinburgh for his PhD in the Rosser Lab, where he collaborated with Unilever to discover new metalloproteases for detergent applications. He is now working in the Wallace lab on improving the production of adipic acid from guaiacol and PET.
Outside of the lab, Ben enjoys hiking (weather permitting), reading fantasy and sci-fi and rewatching The Wire. 







Dr Nicoll Zeballos Lema

Nicoll graduated from Universidad de Zaragoza with a BSc in Chemistry and a MSc in Molecular and Cell Biology. In 2019, she started her PhD in Heterogeneous biocatalysis under the supervision of Prof. Fernando Lopez Gallego in  Cic BiomaGUNE research centre in San Sebastián, Spain. 
In March 2024, Nicoll joined the Wallace Lab to work on enzyme immobilization for accelerated-reactions to improve industrial processes in partnership with Impact Solutions, sponsored by Innovate UK. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking recipes she finds on Instagram (without following the actual recipe).






Rory Gordon

Rory is passionate about technologies which accelerate sustainable development. He completed an undergraduate in Biochemistry with Professional Placement at the University of Bath, with his placement year spent investigating self-limiting insect control at Oxitec. This sparked an interest in synthetic biology which he pursued with an MRes in Synthetic Biology at University College London (UCL). Rory joined the Wallace group at the University of Edinburgh in 2020 to pursue a doctorate in the School of Chemistry in collaboration with the Thomas Lab, funded by Lubrizol through the EaSi-CAT programme, with the goal to develop sustainable routes to petrochemicals. 






Mirren White

An Edinburgh native, Mirren gained a BSc (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Glasgow in 2014. An MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement from the University of Edinburgh followed in 2015, after which she worked in the sector for the next three years. Having always been interested in the practical applications of biology, she undertook an MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology at Edinburgh, graduating with Distinction in 2019. As part of the MSc, she took part in the 2019 iGEM competition, working on azo dye detection and bioremediation, for which the team was awarded a Silver Medal. She joined the lab in 2020 as a research assistant working on metabolic engineering of bacteria to produce high-value products, before joining the IBioIC PhD programme in October 2020 to work on the sustainable production of industrial chemicals using a combination of engineered bacterial metabolism and chemical catalysis in collaboration with MiAlgae.





Connor Trotter

Connor completed a Biology MBiol at Newcastle University in 2020 where he explored various areas of Engineering Biology, ranging from protein engineering to microbiome manipulation. 
After homing in on Applied Microbiology, Connor moved to the Wallace Lab in 2020 to start an EASTBIO-funded PhD where he would curate his own culture collection (now totaling >150 unique species) and explore the potential of these diverse bacteria within Biocompatible Chemistry. 
In his spare time, Connor loves taking his dog, Escherichia coali (Coal for short) for long walks around the various hills in Edinburgh and pestering his friends into going for brunch for the fourth time this month.






Louis Marlow

Louis is a current PhD researcher in the Wallace lab. He joined in 2022 to complete his doctoral research in collaboration with the UK Government Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), focussing on interfacing biocompatible chemistry with synthetic biology for green chemical transformations.
Louis grew up in London and first moved north in 2012 to study at the University of Aberdeen for his BSc in Biochemistry. He moved on to complete a collaborative MSc in Industrial Biotechnology including a placement at Edinburgh based biotech, Ingenza. After his studies Louis was hired and worked as a molecular biologist at Ingenza for four years delivering biological routes to produce high-value chemicals and proteins for customers across sectors. He specialised in the design and implementation of high-throughput and automated strain engineering strategies and enjoys engineering a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes including E. coliP. putidaB. subtilis, R. sphaeroides, S. cerevisiae, P. pastoris and Y. lipolytica. Louis was the recent president of the European Synthetic Biology Society (EUSynBioS) and now sits on their Steering Committee.  
Outside of the lab he enjoys fermenting food and drink in the kitchen including batches of kimchi, sauerkraut and particularly fizzy ginger beer.




Gautham Suresh

Gautham moved to the UK to work toward a BSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Newcastle University in 2016. To further pursue his interest in microbial biotechnology, Gautham studied in the Santini lab at UCL as an MRes student. Gautham joined the Wallace lab in 2021 as a Darwin Trust funded PhD student, aiming to improve the tolerance of microorganisms to key platform chemical products utilising stress responses. 
Outside the lab, Gautham is often found playing board games and petting stray cats. His mother tongue is a South Indian language named Malayalam – the only language with a palindromic name!







Cordelia Kao

Cordelia graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Bristol in 2019. Having always been interested in the interface between chemistry and biology, she went on to obtain an MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Her MSc dissertation was supervised by Professor Dominic Campopiano and focused on analysing and potentially engineering a multifunctional molecular machine for the production of industrial chemicals. She joined the Wallace lab in 2021 as part of the IBioIC PhD programme in collaboration with Argent Energy. Her research focuses on using wastes as feedstock for the generation of high-value small molecules.
In her free time, Cordelia enjoys reading and watching cooking videos. 





Ben Royer

I’m Ben, and I’m passionate about the applications of biology to solve environmental problems and positively impact society. I grew up in France and moved to the UK in 2017 to complete a BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Surrey. I moved to Scotland for a MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, and begun my PhD in the Wallace lab in 2022.

During my previous degrees I have worked on the degradation of recalcitrant pollutants using microbial fuel cells in Dr Avignone-Rossa’s lab, as well as investigated the establishment of heterologous secretory systems in Prof Horsfall’s lab. I am now working on the microbial upcycling of plastic waste in the Wallace lab, funded by the IBioIC PhD programme in collaboration with Impact Solutions.

Outside of the lab I like to be active and do a mix of trail running, hiking, cycling, climbing… trying to explore Scotland little by little.




Charles Wackwitz

Charles is a Dutch national born and raised in Brussels, Belgium. He first moved to the UK in 2015 to study BSc Biotechnology at University College London before moving back to Brussels to work for AstraZeneca. After a brief stint at a med-tech startup in New York City, Charles moved to Edinburgh to complete his MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology where he also competed in the iGEM and iDEC teams. He then worked as a research assistant with Dr Joanna Sadler to produce hydroquinone from cellulosic waste, before finally joining the Wallace lab in 2022 as a PhD student funded by Lubrizol. His research focuses on the bio-production of adipic acid from lignin waste. 
He enjoys tennis, road trips and noisy music. 





Louis Simpson Redmond

Louis moved to Edinburgh in 2018 from his home in Liverpool to do a BSc in Biological Sciences (having eventually settled on Biotechnology as an honours in his final year) and hasn't found a way to escape yet. In the meantime, he also did an MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology, doing his Master's project in the Horsfall Lab up the corridor. 
He joined the Wallace Lab in 2023 to do an industrially-sponsored PhD project in association with De Monchy Aromatics. In this project, Louis aims to synthesize high-value industrial compounds biologically, making use of waste feedstocks.
In his free time, Louis enjoys playing videogames, cooking and collecting interesting spirits and liqueurs to make cocktails with. Also, his name isn't Louis. 





Kitty Clouston

Kitty moved from Bangalore (one of the smaller Indian cities) to London (about half as populated) in 2016, to study Biochemistry at Imperial College. She did a year in industry at GSK, working on enzyme engineering and biocatalysis, which sparked an interest in using biology to make industrial processes more sustainable. She joined Alison Smith’s lab in Cambridge for a research MPhil, engineering microalgae to produce high-value compounds, and stayed on as a technician, tinkering with algal chloroplasts in various ways. Returning to her biochemistry roots, Kitty joined the Wallace lab for an EASTBIO-funded PhD in 2023, working on biocompatible chemistry using microbial hydrogen. 
Outside the lab, Kitty can be found in charity shops, old churches, pubs and at protests around Edinburgh, and every so often in mosh pits in Glasgow. And no, Kitty isn’t short for anything.





Bhumrapee Eiamthong (Joe) 

Joe obtained his B.Sc. in Biotechnology with Honours from Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently, he is a fifth-year Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Chayasith Uttamapinant at VISTEC, Thailand. His research involves discovery and genetic code expansion of the new PET hydrolase from the human saliva metagenome. Joe has joined the Wallace group as a visiting student, focusing on whole-cell PET degradation and valorisation.

When he's not playing with E. coli, Joe enjoys playing video games, the guitar, and singing, as well as watching anime and reading manga. He also loves to play badminton and basketball but for fun and health not competition.