Ian Singleton

Ian Singleton

Prof Ian Singleton FHEA



Education :

BSc Microbiology (Sp. Hons) : Sheffield University, UK (1983-1986)
PhD Microbiology : Sheffield University, UK (1986-1989)

Work : I have a range of academic and commercial work experience and have enjoyed working in different countries giving me an international perspective.

Academic appointments :
Lecturer in Mycology and Environmental Microbiology, University College Dublin, Ireland (1989-1995)
Lecturer in Soil Microbiology, Adelaide University, Australia (1995-2000)
Senior Lecturer (Microbiology), Newcastle University, UK (2000-2015)
Professor in Environmental Microbiology, School of Applied Science, Edinburgh Napier University, (2016 - present)

Other academic appointments :
I was a visiting research associate at the University of Liverpool during a sabbatical period from July 1999-Dec 1999.
EC Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow (2011-2014) at UC Berkeley, USA and Newcastle University. I was fortunate to work in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley (Prof Tom Bruns Lab) to study the application of next generation DNA sequencing for soil fungal community assessment.

Research: My main research interests are in applied environmental microbiology with a current focus on the following topics :

1. Methods to reduce spoilage and microbial contamination of fresh ready to eat plant produce. Current projects are examining the ecology of Listeria in horticultural soils and the use of electrolysed water to reduce microbial loads on fruit and vegetables.
2. Soil microbial communities : I work on the effects of pollutants on soil microbes and how soil microbes contribute to plant growth e.g. the involvement of soil microbial populations in a phenomenon called yield decline that occurs in a variety of important crop types.

Commercial work experience :
I have been involved in the development of two University start up companies that applied research findings.
The first company started in 2003 (as BioFresh Ltd) focussed on novel residue-free methods to store fresh ready to eat produce. The second company (Geneius Laboratories Ltd started in 2007) is a food testing company and we developed novel UKAS approved PCR/DNA based (rapid) tests to detect microbes in food samples.

This commercial experience helps me to work effectively with companies and is also useful for my teaching as I'm able to demonstrate in classes, using personal examples, how research findings can be applied commercially.

Research Groups



Conference Activity

  • Asia-Pacific SETAC conference, Beijing, 2007.
  • International workshop on risk management for pesticide residues, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (1999).


Editorial Activity

  • Member of editorial board of the journal Process Biochemistry (3 year term) and am currently on the Editorial Boards of Environmental Biotechnology and the Chinese Journal of Environmental Sciences
  • Editor of Mycology News (the British Mycological Society Quarterly Newsletter)


External Examining/Validations

  • PhD external examiner
  • External examiner for a suite of MScs (3) at the University of Aberdeen


Grant Funding Panel Member

  • Member of BBSRC Follow on Fund Review panel


Invited Speaker

  • 'Economic and Social Impact of Fungal Deteriogens' : 2009. Joint meeting of British Mycological Society and International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Society, Manchester Univ, 2009.
  • International conference on Bioavailability in Australia (2001).
  • International SETAC conference in Aberdeen, UK (Sep 2003).
  • EU Asia-Link workshop, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2006.
  • Examples of Invited research seminars : UC Berkeley, USA, CEH Oxford, University College Cork, University of Aberdeen, Newcastle University, Prince of Songhkla University, Thailand.


Media Activity

  • Radio 2 (2001) : Use of seaweed in the bioremediation of DDT contaminated soil
  • Radio 4 (2007) : Can ozone gas be used to reduce microbial contamination of fresh fruit and vegetable produce ?
  • Various Australian TV and Radio presentations (1997-1999) discussing microbial based bioremediation of contaminated soil



  • Regular reviewer for journals including Post Harvest Biology and Technology, Applied Soil Ecology


Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • External PhD supervision at University of Nottingham