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Professor Peter Kille

Professor Peter Kille

Director of Technology, Bio-Initiatives Director

School of Biosciences

Email
kille@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 4507
Fax:
+44 (0)29 2087 4116
Campuses
W2.27, Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

Research

Mission

To deliver innovative omics solutions for a changing world.

Vision

To enable world-leading environmental research with real-world impact through the application of omics approaches.

Overview

My research seeks to harness the unprecedented ability of Omics tools to comprehensively characterise living systems across scales from the molecular level to entire ecosystems. These techniques allow the characterisation of entire layers of biological organization (e.g., genomics, metabolomics, phenomics, etc) enabling fundamental insights as well as providing solutions that improve environmental management. My research team applies these tools to explore ecosystems through time and at all levels of organisation, from individuals to populations and communities, allowing us to monitor the impact of a changing environment and plan appropriate mitigation, adaption, and restoration. I am committed to working with stakeholders to ensure the translation of these innovations into solutions that deliver economic and environmental benefits.

Current Areas of Focus:

  • Metallo-Biology: Metals as essential micronutrient and pollutants
  • Application of comparative genomics to improve chemical risk assessment
  • Nanoparticle toxicology
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA): monitoring ecosystems
  • Genotype-environment interactions in wild species
  • Uncovering microbial community changes underlying taste and odor in drinking water

Biography

Current Roles:

Research Theme Lead for Mechanisms of Living Systems - College of Biomedical and Life Sciences Cardiff University

Co-Director, NERC Environmental ‘Omics Synthesis Centre - Cardiff University/CEHUK

Technology Hub Lead, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.

Co-Director - Training ECORISC CDT, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.

COVID Testing hub coordinator, School of Biosciences, Cardiff University.

Professional and Educational Qualifications

PhD

Cardiff University

1992

BSc(i) Biochemistry

Cardiff University

1988

Key Words identifying areas of Specialist Expertise

Ecotoxicology, Metallo-biology, Invertebrate Toxicology, Informatics, Genomics/Transcripomics Toxicodynamics, Toxicogenomics, Toxicokinetics.

Employment History

2016

-

Present

Research Theme Lead for Mechanisms of Living Systems, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences Cardiff University

2015

-

2018

Strategic Director Of Education, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University

2013

-

Present

Professor, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University

2014

-

Present

Visiting Fellow, CEH

2002

-

2013

Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

1994

-

2002

Lecturer, Cardiff University

1994

-

1999

NERC Advanced Fellow, Cardiff University

Memberships of committees, boards, etc

2012

-

Present

Co-Director, NERC Environmental ‘Omics Synthesis Centre

2019

  

Lead Author, Omics A Community Vision

2016

  

Chair, NERC Technology Proof of Concept Panel

2011

  

Lead Author, NERC NERC Environmental ‘omics strategy (NEOMICS)

2011

  

Lead Author, UK EA Report “A review of molecular techniques for ecological monitoring”.

Early Career

After graduating from Cardiff University in 1988 with a degree in Biochemistry I was awarded an industrial linked CASE Ph.D., sponsored by Celltech Ltd, under the supervision of Prof John Kay graduating in 1991.  My dissertation focused on the characterization of a ubiquitous eukaryotic metal-binding protein, metallothionein, and its potential industrial application. My doctoral research inspired an enduring interest in metallobiology and a commitment to realizing real-world impact from my scientific endeavors.

Fellowship to Academic position

Encouragement and mentorship by Prof Kay assisted me in successfully attracting funding to support a short postdoctoral position and subsequently a NERC Advanced Fellowship that explored the genomic basis of heavy metal adaptation in freshwater environments. In 1994 I was appointed to a research lectureship that ran co-incident with my Fellowship and this which I used as a spring-board to establish my research career in toxicogenomics specialising in metal ion metabolism.

Systems Toxicology to Environmental Omics

I have become an exponent of systems toxicology believing that the application of omics tools provides insight into the mechanism of living system and the impact of a changing world. I am currently Theme Lead for Mechanisms of Living Systems, College of Biomedical and Life Sciences (Cardiff) and Director of Environmental Omics Synthesis Centre (NERC-EOS). I was lead author on the NERC Omics Strategy document in 2010 (NEOMICS) and Omics Community vision report in 2019 (Omics solutions for a changing world). DEFRA and EA have commissioned me to author strategic reports on how to harness genomics to better understand and manage the environment entitled - "Environmental Genomics - An Introduction" and more recently "Review of molecular techniques for ecological monitoring".  I have authored key national and international reviews and research papers on the strategic application of ‘omics’ in chemical risk assessment for the Environment Agency, US-EPA and OECD.

Publications

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

1997

1995

1993

Teaching

Strategic Contribution to teaching

As strategic Director of Education for the School of Biosciences from 2015 - 2018 I oversaw a complete restructuring and revalidation of the Schools suite of undergraduate degree programs.

I planned and delivered the development of e-Learning and e-Assessment Facility (eLEAF), a £1.9M progressive and innovative teaching facility within the School of Biosciences.

I have worked to introduce big-data biology and informatics at all levels of teaching.

Teaching

In addition to my routine teaching commitments, I currently deliver on the following courses:

BI2132 - Applications of genomics - Lectures on Transcriptomics and Personalised Genomics

BI3252 The 'omics Revolution (Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics) - Transcriptomics and Networking

BI3156 Systems Biology and Modelling - Networking for Systems Biology

BI3008 - Integrated Masters Project -  Lectures and workshops associated with Bioinformatic skills (Master)

BIT010 Data Handling and Statistics - Lectures and workshops associated with Bioinformatic skills (MSc)

Research grants, projects and awards (selected)

2012

 

2020

Environmental Omics Synthesis Centre

2015

-

2019

Leveraging comparative physiology and genomics to predict species sensitivity: A novel framework for interspecies extrapolation in ecotoxicology.

2017

-

2020

MINT -  Metal Ion trafficking of Nanoparticles in Terrestrial isopods.

2015

-

2018

Hook a worm to catch a man: Tracking historical and recent human settlement, land use and migration in neotropical rainforest using ecosystem engineers.

2015

-

2016

A Worm’s Trail: Implementing a collaborative network for the study of Historical and Recent Land Use and Soil Management in Neotropical Rainforests.

2015

-

2019

Leveraging comparative physiology and genomics to predict species sensitivity: A novel framework for interspecies extrapolation in ecotoxicology.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising students in:

  • Metallo-Biology: Metals as essential micronutrient and pollutants
  • Application of comparative genomics to improve chemical risk assessment
  • Nanoparticle toxicology
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA): monitoring ecosystems
  • Genotype-environment interactions in wild species
  • Uncovering microbial community changes underlying taste and odor in drinking water

Current supervision

Elmer Swart

Research student

Szabolcs Hernadi

Research student

alt

Annalise Hooper

Research student

Claire Badder

Research student

Engagement

Establishing Environmental Genomics

I have fortunate to be involved in the development of ‘Omics in environmental science within the UK from its inception in the late 1990s. The potential for genomics to act as a transformative technology for environmental sciences was recognized through the NERC Environmental Genomics (EG) thematic program of which I was an invited member of the steering committee. Recognizing the inherent importance of data within this nascent field I took on the Chairmanship of the Data Sub-committee, establishing NERC Environmental Bioinformatics Centre (NEBC) amongst other activities. To build on the foundations laid down within the EG program, NERC supported the Post Genomics & Proteomics thematic and again I was privileged to act as a grant panel member and as the lead technical advisor to one of the large consortia program that was funded.

Founding of national facilities program

In 2004 I proposed the expansion of the established NERC Molecular Genetic Facilities to embraces suites of new technologies and approaches, thus spawning the NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility (NBAF). NERC funded this expansion and I was appointed as a founder member of the Steering Committee (2005-2010). I have been invited member of the NERC Service Review Group (2005 - 2009) and Integrated Service Review Group (2012) which reviewed holistically the portfolio of NERC support facilities.

Contributing to national strategy

NERC re-structured its science programs in 2007 by launching ‘Next Generation Science for Planet Earth’, a process to which I contributed. PK was an invited member of the Technologies Strategy Committee which recognized the importance of technologies to underpin all of NERC’s science activities.

Shaping the future of Environmental ‘Omics

In 2009 NERC commissioned a team lead by myself and Prof. D. Field (CEH) to formulate a forward-looking, evidence-based NERC Environmental ‘Omics Strategy (NEOMICS). By instigating and managing a range of activities, from the formation of an expert working, national town meetings, and surveys, we formulated a strategy to maintain UK’s leadership in Environmental ‘Omics. I was entrusted with the role of authoring the Final Report that was presented in December 2010. In response to this strategy, and under the shadow of austerity, NERC funded the Mathematics & Informatics for Environmental ‘Omic Data Synthesis program (£4.5M), of which I am the Co-Director. As a director of this program I am tasked with delivering two central objectives: (i) to oversee the awarding of series of Advanced Fellowships, and (ii) to build the NERC environmental ‘omics research community. This latter objective is being achieved through the establishment of the ‘Environmental ‘Omics Synthesis Centre’ (EOS).  This initiative has already been supported by NERC through the provision of additional funding in support of a series of international ‘Omics conferences over the next five years, and through supporting a dedicated Discipline Hopping Scheme to stimulate long-term collaboration between environmental scientists and informatics/mathematics communities. To further support the multi-disciplinarily of this Centre I was successful as Co-I in being awarded the STFC/NERC Bioinformatics & Environmental 'Omics Network. It is my intent that EOS will leave a lasting legacy on the landscape of environmental research.

Application of Ecotoxicogenomics to Environmental risk assessment

I have contributed to an international series of meetings aimed at the application of ‘omics sciences to environmental monitoring through adoption of system ecotoxicology including keystone Pellston Symposia which have yielded position papers establishing state of the art predicting future perspectives (2001 / 2004). I have also an expert advisor to the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals being an invited member to their industry workshops (2010 / 2011). I have been an invited speaker at the annual International Council of Chemical Associations’ Long-Range Research Initiative workshop in Budeapest (2012). These activities illustrate my international standing within both the academic and industrial sectors.

Realising potential for Environmental; Genomics in Ecological monitoring

In 2002 I authored a technical report commissioned by the Agency and designed to act to inform staff of the potential posed by Environmental Genomics. Although, between 2002-2008 significant research had consolidated the case for the use of genetic tools for bio-monitoring no initiatives had successfully achieved this translation. In 2008 I was invited to present in front of a high-level strategic committee of the Environment Agency to provide a technical review and advice regarding the logistical challenges involved in this technology transfer. Because of this presentation, I was commissioned to write a strategic review on the molecular techniques for ecological monitoring (SC090010) (6). The recommendations of this report have led directly to the funding of a suite of projects that aim to develop Water Quality Standards based of diatom diversity derived using Next-Generation Sequencing. Over the last 18 months, I have been working in collaboration with Environment Agency Staff and Contractors to convert both a ‘proof-of-concept study’ (SC100010) and ‘the development of the DNA reference database’ (SC110013) in support of this objective. Most recently I was successfully awarded the contract to lead a consortium comprising Agency Scientists, Academics and Contractors to ‘Development of a molecular diatom tool for WFD classification of rivers and Lakes’ (26892A). This project represents the final stage in the unification of research and legislative implementation.