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Dr. C.C.R. Allen

Dr. Chris Allen
Dr. Chris Allen
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology

BSc. Applied Biology (CNAA), 1st Class, 1988;
MSc. Biochemical Engineering,
(University College London), 1989;
PhD. Microbial Biochemistry & Biocatalysis,
(University of Warwick), 1993.


Contact Information
Tel:  +44 (0)28 9097 2758 (Direct line)
Fax:  +44 (0)28 9097 5877
Room:  Medical Biology Centre - 0G.416

Research Interests

My main interests are in:

  • Environmental Microbiology:  Understanding the complex relationships between microorganisms degrading aromatic compounds - under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions - in the environment.  Co-metabolism.  Developing new biological and physical methods to help us understand these relationships.  Microbiology and biochemistry of extremophiles
  • Biocatalysis:  Especially application of oxido-reductase enzymes in chiral synthesis - used in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.  Scale-up and optimisation of biotransformation processes.  Protein engineering of improved biocatalytic enzymes
  • Microbial Biochemistry:  In particular I am interested in understanding the biochemistry of aromatic hydrocarbon degradation in soil bacteria.  Purification and characterisation of oxygenase (especially dioxygenase) enzymes and related mechanistic research

Other Information

I presently also manage the pilot scale fermentation facilitiy for CenTACaT and the Questor Centre at QUB.

Vacancies and opportunities to join Environmental Microbiology at Queen's

We welcome any enquiries from research students or staff who are interested in working in the area of environmental microbiology.  Possible areas for future projects include:

  • Gene mining & development of methods for improved access to the biocatalytic potential of enzymes from the environment.  Integration of related genomics and metagenomics
  • Protein engineering of biocatalytic enzymes, with a focus on the development of improved biocatalysts
  • Molecular ecology of biodegradative microorganisms, and the development of integrated methods for analysis of the microbial biosphere
  • Extremophile microbiology, including 'extremozymes' from atypical environmental niches.  Assessing the limits of life on Earth