BOARD OF
DIRECTORS

Dr Adrian Victor-Matei

Dr Adrian Victor-Matei

Data Scientist

Adrian is responsible for helping to expand the product from species identification to the prediction of health, suitability and conservation status of various ecosystems using ecological and machine learning based modelling. He is also closely collaborating with the Business Development team, and he will contribute at facilitating the client’s interaction with our products in terms of accessing and visualising information. 

Academia: PhD in Physical Oceanography from University College London, with focus on air-sea gas exchange mediated by sea state, breaking waves and bubble entrainment. MSc in Physics and Atmospheric Physics, with focus on weather numerical modelling during my dissertation project at Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1 University.  

Future Collaborations: Adrian aims to combine his Academic research experience with commercially-orientated data science experience to bring new insights on the data analysis side, and in the engineering and modelling of the eDNA signal that will help inform business decisions of clients. He is currently involved in HS2 accelerator program where he will be part of the team that will work towards creating and managing a NatureMetrics database fed with data via the NatureMetrics app, creating a customer portal that will enable clients to interactively connect with our products, and developing AI-based products that will inform our clients about the impact of their activity on the status and health of ecosystems. Adrian is also part of MozamSeq project where he will contribute at building models to predict the ecosystem health in mangroves, coral and seagrass using eDNA, environmental and oceanographic big data.  

Dr Sarah Chordekar

Dr Sarah Chordekar

Bioinformatician

Sarah is involved in the processing, quality assessment and taxonomic identification of metabarcoding sequencing data from client samples. Sarah helps maintain, optimise and automate existing analysis pipelines as well as develop new pipelines for all aspects of data processing within the company.

Academia: PhD in Plant Genetics from the University of Bath, MSc in Biosciences from the University of Bath, BSc in Life Sciences and Biochemistry from St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai University.

Significant Collaborations: Sarah has had extensive laboratory experience in molecular biology ranging from DNA and RNA extraction, next generation and minION sequencing, PCR, microscopy and flow cytometry. This, coupled with her programming experience in UNIX, Python, and R for statistics and data analysis equip her with the foundation and knowledge needed to appropriately analyse, interpret and troubleshoot sequencing data.

Dr Alex Crampton-Platt

Dr Alex Crampton-Platt

Lead Bioinformatician

Alex leads our data team and is responsible for ensuring that metabarcoding data is analysed to a high standard with robust and replicable pipelines. Day to day, Alex focuses on analysis of the most challenging client projects and leads the ongoing development of our pipelines. Alex is always looking for ways to improve the way that data is analysed and presented for our clients, to ensure that the biological complexity of samples is correctly captured and summarised effectively.

Academia: Alex held a postdoctoral position at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin. She holds a PhD in Biodiversity Genomics from University College London, an MSc in Entomology and a BSc in Biology from Imperial College London.

Significant collaborations: During her PhD, Alex developed mitochondrial metagenomics, a technique for assessing the taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of complex samples based on shotgun sequencing and reconstruction of mitochondrial genomes. This led to multiple collaborations with other academics looking to apply this method to their study system. Postdoctoral work at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research focussed on the problem of taxonomic assignment of short sequences derived from blood ingested by leeches, in ecosystems where reference data is limited. The experience of that project has subsequently informed Alex’s approach to taxonomic assignment for NatureMetrics’ client data and allowed for the integration of complex probabilistic methods into our pipelines.

Dr Natalie Swan

Dr Natalie Swan

Regional Coordinator for Latin America

Natalie works to introduce DNA-based methods to clients and represents NatureMetrics in Latin America, Europe and beyond, establishing key partnerships and strong networks with public and private-sector and NGO stakeholders. Natalie is actively involved in developing opportunities in these regions, including running workshops for stakeholders and providing training on how DNA-based tools can be integrated into biodiversity monitoring strategies.

Academia: Dual-PhD in Environmental Science from Lancaster University in the UK and Federal University of Lavras in Brazil. MRes in Conservation Management and a BSc in Biodiversity Conservation & Management, from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent.

Significant Collaborations: Natalie brings over a decade of experience in conservation research, biodiversity monitoring and project management, with a notable focus in Latin America. As a lead biologist and expedition team leader for FundAmazonia, she has collaborated with organisations and institutions such as Operation Wallacea, DICE and Earthwatch, even lending her experience as a caiman specialist to the BBC’s Natural History Unit for their series The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World. Passionate about engaging and mentoring others through experiential learning, Natalie has assisted with field courses in Brazil with Lancaster University and led conservation-focussed educational trips to Peru with Flooglebinder (a UK BCorp adventure company). As the Research Coordinator for Crees Foundation, Natalie managed a team of biologists and volunteers in an educational field research station, carrying out long-term biodiversity monitoring in a regenerating forest in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Back in the UK she has also worked as a marine ecologist for environmental impact assessment within the nuclear industry, focussing on fish impingement in cooling water intake structures.

Dr Bastian Egeter

Dr Bastian Egeter

Regional Coordinator

Bastian is part of the Business Development team and works closely with the Science team to facilitate knowledge transfer between the two. Bastian identifies emerging sector and client needs, develops matching products and provides support for field study design and interpretation of results.

Academia: Postdoc in environmental metagenomics at CIBIO-InBIO, PhD in Zoology and PgDipSci in Wildlife Management from the University of Otago, BSc in Natural Science from Trinity College Dublin.

Significant Collaborations: Bastian has studied and worked in the ecological sector for 20 years. He started as an ecological consultant producing environmental impact assessments for major national developments. During his PhD and postdoc positions he focussed on molecular diet analysis of invasive or threatened species, ranging from cheetahs to toads to scorpions. He also led projects on the detection of fauna and flora from aquatic eDNA, with each study involving both ecological data acquisition and eDNA method development. Bastian has contributed to multiple scientific publications and has supervised 4 MSc and 2 PhD students, and now brings this wealth of experience to NatureMetrics.

Dr Adrian Victor-Matei

Dr Adrian Victor-Matei

Data Scientist

Adrian is responsible for helping to expand the product from species identification to the prediction of health, suitability and conservation status of various ecosystems using ecological and machine learning based modelling. He is also closely collaborating with the Business Development team, and he will contribute at facilitating the client’s interaction with our products in terms of accessing and visualising information. 

Academia: PhD in Physical Oceanography from University College London, with focus on air-sea gas exchange mediated by sea state, breaking waves and bubble entrainment. MSc in Physics and Atmospheric Physics, with focus on weather numerical modelling during my dissertation project at Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1 University.  

Future Collaborations: Adrian aims to combine his Academic research experience with commercially-orientated data science experience to bring new insights on the data analysis side, and in the engineering and modelling of the eDNA signal that will help inform business decisions of clients. He is currently involved in HS2 accelerator program where he will be part of the team that will work towards creating and managing a NatureMetrics database fed with data via the NatureMetrics app, creating a customer portal that will enable clients to interactively connect with our products, and developing AI-based products that will inform our clients about the impact of their activity on the status and health of ecosystems. Adrian is also part of MozamSeq project where he will contribute at building models to predict the ecosystem health in mangroves, coral and seagrass using eDNA, environmental and oceanographic big data.  

Dr Sarah Chordekar

Dr Sarah Chordekar

Bioinformatician

Sarah is involved in the processing, quality assessment and taxonomic identification of metabarcoding sequencing data from client samples. Sarah helps maintain, optimise and automate existing analysis pipelines as well as develop new pipelines for all aspects of data processing within the company.

Academia: PhD in Plant Genetics from the University of Bath, MSc in Biosciences from the University of Bath, BSc in Life Sciences and Biochemistry from St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai University.

Significant Collaborations: Sarah has had extensive laboratory experience in molecular biology ranging from DNA and RNA extraction, next generation and minION sequencing, PCR, microscopy and flow cytometry. This, coupled with her programming experience in UNIX, Python, and R for statistics and data analysis equip her with the foundation and knowledge needed to appropriately analyse, interpret and troubleshoot sequencing data.

Molly Czachur

Molly Czachur

Science Communications Manager

Molly oversees the science communications of our DNA-based services, both internally and externally, and works across teams to connect our science with the people who can use it.

Academia: Molly is currently completing her PhD on eDNA-based biomonitoring of Southern African fishes at Stellenbosch University, and holds an MSci Marine Biology with International Experience from Bangor University.

Significant Collaborations: Molly has been establishing eDNA capacity for coastal fish biomonitoring in South Africa for her PhD research, collaborating with Bangor University in the UK to transfer knowledge between regions. She was involved in the establishment of eDNA labs at Stellenbosch University and generated initial baseline data, networking across the region and initiating the “African eDNA Network” originating from a Southern African workshop that she co-hosted. Having trained as a marine biologist, Molly has lived and worked internationally in Europe and Africa on projects from mangrove ecology (via Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute) and carbon trading (Mikoko Pamoja, Kenya) to animal physiology (AWI, Germany), developmental biology (University of Manchester, UK) and aquaculture (Bangor University, UK). She has coupled her academic experiences with certifications in various Science Communication and marketing courses, recently winning her a “Young Science Communicator” award and recognition from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles for her contributions to eDNA-based science communication. She has subsequently lectured university students and staff in SciComm whilst offering freelance science communication services via her company 'ZoologyMolly'. More recently, she has joined NatureMetrics to realise her passion for communicating eDNA science.

Saima Akhtar

Saima Akhtar

Finance Manager

Saima oversees the day-to-day finances of the business as well as being responsible for financial planning and reporting.

Academia: BSc in Accounting and Financial Management 


Significant Collaborations: Saima brought to NatureMetrics, when she joined in September 2018, her experience as a trained accountant. Saima has worked for various SMEs in the past and has been involved in setting up processes within the finance departments. She is a great communicator and shows interest in all aspects of the business.

Wioletta Sadowska

Wioletta Sadowska

Finance Admin

Wioletta joined NatureMetrics in October 2019 and is responsible for keeping records of invoices and managing accounts receivables and payables.

Academia: Wioletta hold a BA in Administration from Warsaw University of Technology and AAT Diploma from Richmond College.

Significant collaborations: Wioletta gained her finance experience from working with small construction companies, and was responsible for filing, processing invoices, receiving customer payments and preparing year-end statements. She has since brought this experience to our finance team at NatureMetrics.

Prof. Douglas Yu

Prof. Douglas Yu

Co-founder & Scientific Advisor

Academia: Professor of Ecology at the University of East Anglia. 


Significant Collaborations: As one of the pioneers of Metabarcoding, Doug has led the field in applying this technology to real environmental management challenges. Doug's incredible background in field ecology has earned a profound understanding of; sampling and experimental design; the logistical and physical challenges of conducting fieldwork and handling samples while in remote locations, and ecological statistics. 


Prof. Alfried Vogler

Prof. Alfried Vogler

Co-Founder & Scientific Advisor

Academia: Professor of Molecular Systematics at Imperial College London.
 
Significant Collaborations: For the past twenty years, Alfried has led methods development in the field of Molecular Systematics at Imperial College London. Alfried’s expertise covers laboratory protocol development, metagenomics and bioinformatics. Recently, his lab pioneered a method to mass-produce mitogenome assemblies from shotgun-sequenced bulk samples, which can be used for quantitative biodiversity assessments. 

Prof. David Hill CBE

Prof. David Hill CBE

Advisory board member of NatureMetrics. Chairman & Founder of The Environmental Bank Ltd (EBL).

Academia: David has a doctorate in ecology from the University of Oxford and worked for a number of NGO’s before establishing one of the first environmental consultancies in the UK. He has a strong professional and personal interest in biodiversity conservation.

Significant Collaborations: Having founded The Environmental Bank Ltd (EBL) in 2006, David has introduced the concept of compensation via biodiversity offsetting and conservation banking into the UK since 2007, to provide biodiversity net gain. His idea is to be mandated into planning law in 2021. David is a Board Trustee of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Chairman of the conservation charity Plantlife International, Chairman of the Northern Upland Chain Nature Partnership comprising Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Parks and Nidderdale, North Pennines and Forest of Bowland Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Commissioner on the independent Food Farming and Countryside Commission. Previously Deputy Chair of Natural England, the governments statutory advisers on the natural heritage, and previously a member of the Board of the UK government’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the government’s Ecosystem Markets Taskforce.

Dr Peter Gilchrist

Dr Peter Gilchrist

Advisory board member at NatureMetrics. Director of Operations Jacobs UK Ltd

Academia: PhD in Ecology: University of Kent

Significant Collaborations: Peter has over 20 years of professional experience in both the public and private sector, and is the Global Technology & Solutions Leader of Biology and Ecology at Jacobs UK Ltd. In this leadership role, Peter facilitates global collaboration for the 600 strong biology and ecology specialists within Jacobs.

Dr Alex Crampton-Platt

Dr Alex Crampton-Platt

Lead Bioinformatician

Alex leads our data team and is responsible for ensuring that metabarcoding data is analysed to a high standard with robust and replicable pipelines. Day to day, Alex focuses on analysis of the most challenging client projects and leads the ongoing development of our pipelines. Alex is always looking for ways to improve the way that data is analysed and presented for our clients, to ensure that the biological complexity of samples is correctly captured and summarised effectively.

Academia: Alex held a postdoctoral position at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin. She holds a PhD in Biodiversity Genomics from University College London, an MSc in Entomology and a BSc in Biology from Imperial College London.

Significant collaborations: During her PhD, Alex developed mitochondrial metagenomics, a technique for assessing the taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of complex samples based on shotgun sequencing and reconstruction of mitochondrial genomes. This led to multiple collaborations with other academics looking to apply this method to their study system. Postdoctoral work at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research focussed on the problem of taxonomic assignment of short sequences derived from blood ingested by leeches, in ecosystems where reference data is limited. The experience of that project has subsequently informed Alex’s approach to taxonomic assignment for NatureMetrics’ client data and allowed for the integration of complex probabilistic methods into our pipelines.

Nitin Sukh

Nitin Sukh

Advisory board member at NatureMetrics. Head of Natural Capital at Planet Tracker, Co-Founder of Ma Earth Botanicals

Academia: Nitin holds an MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, an MBA in Business Strategy in Emerging Markets from the University of Liverpool, and a BSc in Mathematics & Management Sciences from The University of Manchester.

Significant Collaborations: Nitin is an ecological economist and development banker specialising in green economic growth. He has a wealth of experience in business strategy and is a leader in the field of environmental finance and natural capital. 

John Waters

John Waters

Advisory board member at NatureMetrics. Green Investor.

Academia: John holds a BSc in Civil Engineering

Significant Collaborations: John has a long track record in the leadership of high growth companies, principally businesses benefiting the environment, driving their commercial development towards a profitable and sustainable business future. He was with ERM, the world's leading sustainability consultancy, for 20 years in global executive leadership roles. John has investments in a portfolio of start-up and early-stage companies, many of which are addressing climate change issues. He greatly enjoys working with these companies on sales, operational and sustainability issues.

Dr Kat Bruce

Dr Kat Bruce

Co-founder

Kat provides advice and support across the technical and project teams. She leads our interactions with the scientific community and is a thought leader in the industry.

Academia: Kat trained as a tropical ecologist, making many research trips to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador and Peru. She gained a PhD in tropical ecology and DNA metabarcoding from the University of East Anglia supervised by Prof. Doug Yu, one of the pioneers of insect metabarcoding and a NatureMetrics scientific advisor. Kat also holds an MRes in Entomology from Imperial College and a BSc in Wildlife Biology from Anglia Ruskin University.

Significant Collaborations: Kat leads a working group on field and lab methods in the EU COST Action Project DNAqua-net. She has led the drafting of the first European standard for aquatic eDNA capture, is a Technical Expert on eDNA for the BSI, and is an advisor to the California Molecular Methods Workgroup. Kat currently sits on the steering group of the UK DNA Working Group and the steering committee of the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum.
After completing her PhD in 2014, Kat set up NatureMetrics to bridge the gap between the powerful molecular tools being developed in the research world and the environmental managers who could benefit from their use. Her particular interest lies in how to bring together the worlds of research, industry and policy to drive forward advances in our capacity to monitor the natural world. Through her work in the EU COST Action project DNAqua-net, she actively works to help establish best practice for the use of DNA monitoring tools for aquatic biomonitoring in Europe and beyond.

Dr Cuong Q. Tang

Dr Cuong Q. Tang

Lead Scientist

CT is a molecular taxonomist with extensive experience in high throughput DNA techniques. CT has developed the molecular workflows for NatureMetrics’ key services and has played a role in driving the scientific operations and product innovation within the business. CT has taken the lead role in commercialising services such as our fish metabarcoding, bat identification, and invasive mussel detection from the perspective of developing and validating the new tests and then implementing a commercially viable protocol. He has also worked to set up and continuously improve our IT systems to track and trace samples from receipt to results. CT currently manages a growing team of research scientists and laboratory technicians who together develop new technologies and assays, which include the characterisation of bulk invertebrate traps, macroinvertebrates, invasive mussels, and crayfish. One of his main duties is to maintain the high standard of services at NatureMetrics. CT plays an important role in communicating with clients, specifically instances requiring more technical input. Alongside the data team, CT currently plays an important role in client reporting.

Academia: DEFRA-funded postdoctoral research fellowship focused on developing protocols for DNA-based assessment of UK pollinator diversity (Taxonomic research fellowship, Natural History Museum, London: “Taxonomic fellowship to support the National Pollinator Strategy”); Research associate, Imperial College London: “Phylogenetically Informed Correlates of Monocotyledonous Plant Diversity”. PhD, Imperial College London: “The Consequences of Life without Sex: An Examination into Taxonomy and Evolution of the Anciently Asexual Bdelloid Rotifers”. MSci, Imperial College London: Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation.

Significant Collaborations: CT has extensive experience in high throughput DNA barcoding, metabarcoding and mitochondrial metagenomics.

Katie Critchlow

Katie Critchlow

Chief Executive Officer

Katie oversees all activities at NatureMetrics, spanning all teams from science and data to operations and business development.

Academia: Katie holds an MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change from LSE, and a BSc in Biology from Oxford University.

Significant Collaborations: Katie has 18 years’ experience in corporate strategy, innovation and partnership development for a green economy. With M&S, Katie developed Plan A in the supply chain and led a team that were developing global sustainable products and supply chains, including wood, palm oil, cotton and fish. Whilst based in Jakarta with WWF, Katie helped to deliver a Green Economy strategy for Borneo. Katie ran for parliament in 2019, and has experience running green start-ups in the energy and biosciences industries. Katie has a vision to revolutionise nature data provision which she is actively pursuing with NatureMetrics.

Dr Hayley Craig

Dr Hayley Craig

Research Scientist

Hayley leads the research and development of soil and sediment science at NatureMetrics, overseeing client projects and applying our technologies to address specific client challenges. Hayley joined NatureMetrics in July 2020 and is currently leading an innovative, collaborative pilot project, investigating the differences in the soil microbial and fauna communities at agricultural sites across Kent.

Academia: Hayley worked at the University of Manchester on her postdoctoral research in greenhouse gas emissions from grassland soils, her PhD in Soil Microbial Ecology and her MSc in Plant Science. Hayley also holds a BSc in Biology from Macquarie University.

Significant Collaborations: Hayley previously worked as an Environmental Consultant in Australia on contaminated land projects for a range of clients including government, railways, developers, and property management companies. She has collaborated with Natural England and National Trust, working on projects to assess the effects of land management practices and development on the surrounding environment. Her PhD research looking at effects of nutrient pollution in mangrove sediments was conducted in Florida in collaboration with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and multiple academic institutes in both the UK and USA. Hayley's varied experience working on ranging ecosystems puts her in great stead to develop our eDNA from Sediments and Soils services.

Dr Juliet Jones

Dr Juliet Jones

Operations Director

Juliet leads our operations team and all NatureMetrics business operations from day-to-day activities to planning the logistics of our global growth. Juliet ensures our science and services are delivered to a high standard, underpinning the success of our high-quality facilities and workflows.

Academia: Postdocs in drug research and viral engineering across a range of academic institutions, PhD in Cancer Biology from the Institute of Cancer Research, BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Surrey.

Significant Collaborations: Juliet has spent 13 years in academic and biotechnology institutions and has worked on a broad range of drug discovery projects. Her background as a molecular biologist gives Juliet a wealth of experience working in research and biotechnology laboratories. Having worked with DNA in lots of different ways, Juliet is now applying that range of skills to DNA-based monitoring with NatureMetrics.

Dr Narin Kirikyali

Dr Narin Kirikyali

Senior Laboratory Technician

Narin joined the team as a laboratory technician to help with sample processing during Great Crested Newt Season in March 2018. She has since developed to become a senior laboratory technician who now leads Great Crested Newt Season from sample check-in to reporting results to clients. Narin is also our MiSeq coordinator, which involves organising large batches of samples for sequencing and being responsible for laboratory-based processing of client samples.

Academia: Narin holds a BSc in microbiology and a PhD in molecular biology. Her PhD thesis focused on cloning and expression of novel β-xylosidase encoding gene sequences from filamentous fungal sources into yeast and bacteria.

Significant Collaborations: Narin brought to NatureMetrics, her experience of molecular diagnostic tools which selectively detect plant and human pathogens. She has extensive experience in research utilising in vitro sensitivity testing of propriety compounds, as potential new-generation fungicides, together with SDHI azoles and the interpretation of mathematical data for evaluating Effective Concentration (EC50) values. Narin was also occupied in the development of molecular diagnostic techniques utilising quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) assays which selectively detects resistant strains of plant pathogens. 


Mosufa Ajmal

Mosufa Ajmal

Senior Laboratory Technician

Mosufa initially joined NatureMetrics in March 2018 as a temporary Molecular Laboratory Technician during the Great Crested Newt (GCN) surveying season. Proving an invaluable member of the NatureMetrics team, Mosufa accepted a permanent role with us and is now responsible for client project delivery, which involves, performing DNA extractions, DNA amplifications and quality controls across our various services. Mosufa is also involved in training new staff in molecular techniques to NatureMetrics’ standards and the development and testing of new assays. She has just finished developing and optimizing a new test for detecting macroinvertebrates, which will help with conservation efforts and monitoring of water bodies. Alongside the data team, Mosufa plays a role in client reporting.

Academia: University College London, Master of Science in Prenatal Genetics and Foetal Medicine

Significant Collaborations: Mosufa completed collaborative work with NatureMetrics on a research project, to detect Anisus vorticulus which included in silico primer validation, assay development and chromatogram analysis.

Rebecca Irwin

Rebecca Irwin

Laboratory Technician

Becky joined the NatureMetrics team in October 2020. She carries out the routine molecular analysis of client samples using her skills in DNA extraction and PCR.

Academia: Becky has a BSc (Hons) Zoology from the University of Exeter, where she carried out phylogenetic research on UK Actinia species. Using genetics methods, she identified cryptic speciation within the Actinia clade and the ecological factors influencing colour morphotype distribution. During this time, Becky also participated in multiple research projects. These explored the impacts of Agri-Environment schemes on pollinator biodiversity and population structure and the fitness consequences of cooperation in Cornish Jackdaws.

Significant experience: Becky has previous experience with GCN and environmental sampling and also with phylogenetic research.

Bob Ellis

Bob Ellis

Non-executive Director

Academia: Bob holds a B.Ed (Hons) in Educational Theory from the University of London.

Significant Collaborations: Bob is a Restructuring Specialist and has particular expertise in complex operational and financial turnaround in Europe, Asia and the USA. As an experienced Investor and Director of businesses at all stages, Bob brings a range of strengths that support the global growth of NatureMetrics.

Dr Edward Wort

Dr Edward Wort

Client Reporting Manager

Edward provides scientific support on the specifics of DNA-based tools to the BD team, with particular expertise in marine sampling. Edward assists the data science team with bioinformatics, and also writes data reports and reviews projects for clients.

Academia: Edward holds a PhD in Marine Ecology from the University of Southampton and Natural History Museum, and holds an MSci in Oceanography with French from the University of Southampton.

Significant Collaborations: Having gained a wealth of experience as an Environmental Reporting Scientist for Gardline, Edward brings to NatureMetrics his expertise in marine environmental baseline surveys and habitat assessments. Prior to that, Edward's PhD involved population genetics and phylogenetics on the Atlantic coasts of France and Spain. His previous work at the Plymouth Marine Institute included habitat connectivity modelling for the English Channel as part of the PANACHE project and for the deep sea west of Britain.

Laura Balcells

Laura Balcells

Molecular Laboratory Technician

Laura’s experiences inspired her to work at NatureMetrics, where she specialises in client product delivery and assay development. Laura is interested in how science and art work together in understanding the world, solving problems and engaging society, and is working on bringing some of these collaborations into NatureMetrics.

Academia: BSc in Biology and an MSc in Biodiversity from the University of Barcelona. Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

Significant contributions: Laura is an experienced biodiversity scientist whose work has ranged from the lab to collections to the field. Since she was a small girl, talking to the frogs in the countryside (ask her to do an impression!) and saving insects from drowning in the pond, Laura has always loved animals. Her passion for biodiversity conservation developed during her education at the University of Barcelona, from which she gained a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Biodiversity. Laura came to the UK to work at the Natural History Museum, London, initially on an EU funded Leonardo da Vinci grant, and subsequently worked with the world-class scientific collections across all life sciences departments, from insects to plants, and from fish to mammals. Laura’s drive to work on biodiversity conservation took her to the Seychelles, where she volunteered for fieldwork to study populations of endemic species of birds, sea turtles and giant tortoises. Laura was recruited (for maternity cover) to act as Head of Collections at the Powell-Cotton Museum. There she successfully led the collections team and managed projects including two new exhibitions on African fabrics and Angolan material culture, and a fresh ethnographic gallery interpretation. This position gave her excellent experience in managing people, projects and budgets, as well as in taking a museum exhibition from conception to delivery. Driven by her passion, Laura sought out independent collaborations with scientific research groups leading in the study of marine biodiversity using novel molecular techniques. With Ana Riesgo’s lab she worked on marine invertebrates population genetics and with Stefano Mariani´s lab she studied marine biodiversity using eDNA.
When Laura is not working, you can probably find her dancing or most likely enjoying some of her favourite food, like croquetas.

Meri Anderson

Meri Anderson

Laboratory Technician

Meri joined NatureMetrics at the start of 2020. While working on day to day client samples she uses her skills in DNA extractions, PCR processes and sanger sequencing. She also works on R&D projects, doing assay development. She has just finished developing and optimizing a new test for detecting invasive and native mussels, which will help with conservation efforts and monitoring of water bodies.

Academia: The University of Exeter, Masters by Research supervised by Dr Lena Wilfert. Title: “Parasite Insight: Apicystis bombi. Prevalence of the under-reported parasite Apicystis bombi across natural barriers and life stages in pollinator hosts.” She developed new specific primers for an under-researched bumblebee pathogen and found the pathogen had jumped hosts to honeybees. She developed her skills in Sanger Sequencing, assay development and processing large volumes of samples. She is now writing up this research to be published in a scientific journal.

Significant Collaborations: Meri joined us after a role where she was researching novel pollinator pathogens and the effects of pesticides on pollinators. She has recently completed collaborative work with NatureMetrics on a minION project which included ~1000 PCRs done to a hard deadline.

Hannah Flintham

Hannah Flintham

Intern

Hannah joined NatureMetrics in September 2020 for an internship working alongside Dr Hayley Craig to develop our soil and sediment services whilst learning from and working with our laboratory technicians. Hannah also hopes to set up a pilot metatranscriptomic study on soil microbial communities.

Academia: MSc in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton

Significant Collaborations: During Hannah’s degree she gained experience in a range of molecular biology techniques, in particular RNA extraction and sequencing. For her final year project she focused on understanding differences in biogeochemical functions of marine microbial communities on sinking versus suspended particles in the ocean using metatranscriptomic analyses.

Mourad A

Mourad A

International Operations Coordinator

Mourad is responsible for developing the international logistics strategy for NatureMetrics and ensures that all goods reach their destination efficiently and compliantly.

Academia: Mourad is a Chief Accountant and holds a BA in Accounting from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Algiers, Algeria

Significant collaborations: Mourad has over 20 years’ experience in logistics, with his experience extending from courier service to Airfreight, Specialist logistics and temperature-controlled logistics, including 3PL / 4PL / 5PL. Mourad has particular training and certification in: Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Customs export procedure, packaging training certification, Dangerous goods training certification, damage training certification, Temperature controlled transport certification, Goods distribution practice certification and Aviation's security certification. Mourad’s training and certifications, coupled with his years of experience, give him a varied expertise that is a strong asset to the international operations of NatureMetrics

Scott Townend

Scott Townend

Laboratory Manager

Scott manages the day-to-day stock and equipment needs at NatureMetrics, ensuring our labs are well maintained and the science teams are supported. Scott joined NatureMetrics in Spring 2016 as a Molecular Lab Technician and his commitment to high-accuracy, safe and standardised operations saw him promoted to Laboratory Manager in 2018.

Academia: Scott holds a BSc in Zoology from Bangor University.

Significant Collaborations: Before joining NatureMetrics, Scott worked in the Toxicology Department at the University of Hertfordshire, where he was a Lab Technician handling radioactive and highly toxic materials. During his BSc, Scott carried out a lab placement where he used PCR-based methods for snake research. Scott brings technical lab-based skills to the NatureMetrics team, and continues to help us scale our science operations alongside our global growth.

Simon Acland

Simon Acland

Chairman

Simon has been investing in young technology companies as a professional venture capitalist and business angel for over thirty years. In that time has acted as Chair or Non-Executive Director of over forty high growth businesses, many of which have floated on stock exchanges or been sold successfully.



He led the investment in NatureMetrics' seed round in 2016 and in 2017 he co-founded Green Angel Syndicate, one of NatureMetrics' investors and the only angel group in the UK focussed on companies which combat climate change and protect the environment. Simon is on the Advisory Panel of the Triple Point EIS Fund, another of NatureMetrics' investors, sits on the Board of Triple Point Income VCT and of the Satellite Applications Catapult, and is on the Investment Committee of the Angel CoFund. He recently stepped down as Vice-Chair of wild plant conservation charity Plantlife.

Jasmin Stewart

Jasmin Stewart

Executive Assistant

Jasmin assists our executive and management teams on a day to day basis, supporting them in performing key business activities. Jasmin also manages our Ashford office, which involves handling internal HR activities and managing our IT needs whilst assisting on-the-ground with our teams' project needs.

Academia: BSc in Economics from the University of South Africa.

Significant Collaborations: Jasmin joined NatureMetrics in February 2020 after recently immigrating from South Africa. Jasmin's business acumen and experience across varying client services roles made her a perfect fit for NatureMetrics.

Shital Patel

Shital Patel

IT Systems Administrator

Shital is a vital component of our NatureMetrics team, bringing IT-based solutions to our globally operating business.

Academia: BSc in Computing and BTEC Diploma in Science

Significant collaborations: Shital has over 20 years’ experience in developing and delivering IT infrastructure and has worked in Live Events Industry, an IT start-up and has been involved with a managed service provider as an associate partner and IT consultant for SME clients in London prior to joining Nature Metrics.
Shital is a technically minded and analytical professional with extensive experience in infrastructure development and in IT operations and project management. He is adept at leading projects from start to finish, preparing strategic plans and control structures, and ensuring successful delivery within time and budget.
Shital brings to NatureMetrics a history of success in change management, business continuity and reliability, continuous process improvement, disaster recovery, information / network security implementation, and risk mitigation. Shital has a proven track record of excellence in investigating and resolving potential issues and translating business needs into technical solutions. He is skilled in developing and executing innovative infrastructure solutions, implementing changes to systems as per client requirement, monitoring networking processes, and supporting core infrastructure.

Joe Goodall

Joe Goodall

Operations Coordinator

Academia: Temporary Project Assistant to Vital Operations Coordinator.
Significant Collaborations: Joe first engaged with NatureMetrics in April 2018, where he assisted on projects during the Great Crested Newt (GCN) surveying season. Joe returned to NatureMetrics in October that year after travelling the world. Now Joe is a vital member of the team, overseeing crucial tasks that keep the business running smoothly. 



Katie

eDNA Metabarcoding (MBC) uses high throughput sequencing on community DNA to detect and identify diverse taxa in a single reaction.