Prof. Linda Lawton works at the Rober Gordon University in Aberdeen, where she is a Research Group leader in Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins and algal biotechnology.
Linda grew up with a passion for exploring the natural world and was never happier than when she was splashing in rock pools or digging up bugs. While in high school, her early exploits in fermenting lead her to snatch first prize in the local flower and produce show for her elderberry wine. Following these successful exploits she undertook her Batchelor of Science in Brewing and Microbiology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The bubbling and brewing continued at the University of Dundee but change colour and palatability to blue-green algae laced with potent toxins. During the seven years she work at Dundee in the group of Professor Geoffrey Codd she completed her PhD on the ‘biological effects & significance of cyanobacterial peptide toxins’. She has grown to be a world expert particularly in the analysis of microcystins and established her own group at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK in 1994. She has published extensively on the topic ranging from detecting cyanotoxins, trying to understand their production and developing methods to destroy them which you will hear more about.
Linda’s research has been underpinned by expertise in the purification of cyanotoxins through large scale culturing and chromatography. This has ensured a longstanding commercial collaboration to provide cyanotoxins and other metabolites to the scientific community through Enzo Life Sciences. The ability to produce high quantities has facilitated many degradation studies both with microbes and especially with Advanced Oxidation particularly using the photocatalyst, titanium dioxide. With collaborations across the globe she is currently involved in significant research projects involving detection, monitoring and elimination of cyanotoxins and other algal toxins in drinking water and the human foodchain.
When not in the lab Linda is still digging up beasties but now she calls it gardening and will jump at the opportunity to head off to the rock pools in Stonehaven, the beautiful seaside town where she lives in the North East of Scotland.