Head of Institute

Head : Prof. Bob Reuben

Susan Ogden - Administrative Assistant to Head of Institute
Email: s.ogden@hw.ac.uk
Telephone: 0131 451 3197


+44 (0)131 451 3315
Room S6
John Muir Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities
  • Lead research on microbial ecology projects, with a particular interest on the microbial response to oil spills and bioremediation processes.
  • Supervision of undergraduate, MSc and PhD projects, and reviewer of PhD vivas at UK and overseas universities.
  • Member of international scientific associations and microbiological societies.

Microorganisms are some of the smallest and by far most numerous of life forms on Earth, performing and controlling many important processes that are vital to the existence of all life as we know it. My research interests are in the study of bacterial processes in the ocean that influence the bioavailability and degradation of oil hydrocarbons. I am also interested in the role of bacterial exopolymers to the bioavailability of trace metal nutrients to phytoplankton. Some of my work involves: 1) taxonomic and systematic studies of novel bacterial taxa; 2) evaluation of the ecological function and commercial application of microbial polymers; and 3) the application of microbial systems for the conversion of organic waste products into second generation biofuels. Research within my lab employs a range of classical and molecular biological techniques.

Selected publications

Gutierrez, T., Green, D.H., Nichols, P.D., Whitman, W.B., Semple, K.T., Aitken, M.D. (2012) Algiphilus aromaticivorans gen. nov., sp. nov., an aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium isolated from a culture of the marine dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum, and proposal of Algiphilaceae fam. nov. International Journal of Systematic & Evolutionary Microbiology, accepted for publication.

Yang, T., Nigro, L. M., Gutierrez, J. A., D’Ambrosio, L., Joye, S. B. Highsmith, R., Teske, A. (2012) Water column microbial community structure before, during and after the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Abstract presented at the 2012 ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, 19-24 Feb.

Gutierrez, T., Nichols, P.D., Whitman, W.B., Aitken, M.D. (2012) Porticoccus hydrocarbonoclasticus sp. nov., an aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterium identified in laboratory cultures of marine phytoplankton. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78:628-637.

Gutierrez, T., Singleton, D.R., Aitken, M.D., Semple, K.T. (2011) Stable-isotope probing of an algal bloom identifies uncultivated members of the Rhodobacteraceae associated with low molecular-weight PAH degradation. Applied & Environmental Microbiology, 77:7856-7860.

Gutierrez, T. (2011) Identifying polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria in oil-contaminated surface waters at Deepwater Horizon by cultivation, stable isotope probing and pyrosequencing. Reviews in Environmental Science & Bio/Technology, 10:301-305.

Yang, T., Nigro, L., McKay, L.J., Ziervogel, K., Gutierrez, T., Teske, A. (2010) Bacterial communities of surface and deep hydrocarbon-contaminated waters of the deepwater horizon oil spill. Abstract OS22B-05 presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec.

Kai Ziervogel, Luke McKay, Tingting Yang, Ben Rhodes, Lisa Nigro, Tony Gutierrez, Andreas Teske, Carol Arnosti (2010) Formation of marine snow and enhanced enzymatic activities in oil-contaminated seawater. Abstract OS22B-05 presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec.

Gutierrez, T. (2010) Searching for new bacterial species that break down polyaromatic hydrocarbons in coastal and oceanic waters. Reviews in Environmental Science & Bio/Technology, 9:205-209.

Pete, R., Davidson, K., Hart, M., Gutierrez, T., Miller, A.E.J. (2010) Diatom derived dissolved organic matter as a driver of bacterial productivity: the role of nutrient limitation. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology, 391:20-26.

Gutierrez, T., Leo, V.V., Walker, G.M., Green, D.H. (2009) Emulsifying properties of a glycoprotein extract produced by a marine Flexibacter species strain TG382. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 45(1): 53-57.

Gutierrez, T., Learmonth, R., Couperwhite, I. (2009) Analysis of benzene-induced effects on Rhodococcus sp. 33 reveals that constitutive processes play a major role in conferring tolerance. The Scientific World Journal, 9, 209-223. DOI 10.1100/tsw.2009.29.

Gutierrez, T., Morris, G. and Green, D.H. (2009) Yield and physicochemical properties of EPS from Halomonas sp. Strain TG39 identifies a role for protein and anionic residues (sulfate and phosphate) in emulsification of n-hexadecane. Biotechnology & Bioengineering, 103(1): 207-216.

Gutierrez, T., Shimmield, T., Haidon, C., Black, K. and Green, D.H. (2008) Emulsifying and metal ion binding activity of a glycoprotein exopolymer produced by Pseudoalteromonas species TG12. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 74(15): 4867-4876.

Gutierrez, T. (2008) Fermentation processes: the production of bioethanol. In M.S. Kelly and S. Dworjanyn, The potential of marine biomass for anaerobic biogas production, pp. 14-15. The Crown Estate.

Gutierrez, T. (2008) Bioconversion of seaweeds: ethanol. In M.S. Kelly and S. Dworjanyn, The potential of marine biomass for anaerobic biogas production, pp. 39-41. The Crown Estate.

Gutierrez, T., Mulloy, B., Bavington, C., Black, K., and Green, D. H. (2007) Partial purification and chemical characterization of a glycoprotein (putative hydrocolloid) emulsifier produced by a marine Antarctobacter species. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 76(5): 1017-1026.

Gutierrez, T., Mulloy, B., Black, K. and Green, D.H. (2007) Glycoprotein emulsifiers from two marine Halomonas species: chemical and physical characterization. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 103(5): 1716-1727.

Green, D. H., Bowman, J. P., Smith, E. A., Gutierrez, T. and Bolch, C. J. S. (2006) Marinobacter algicola sp. nov., isolated from laboratory cultures of paralytic shellfish toxin-producing dinoflagellates. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 56: 523 - 527.

Gutierrez, T., Ingram, L. O. and Preston, J. F. (2006) Purification and characterization of a furfural reductase (FFR) from Escherichia coli strain LYO1 - An enzyme important in the detoxification of furfural during ethanol production. Journal of Biotechnology, 121: 154 - 164.


Tony Gutierrez is a Reader in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University.

Past appointments:

  • Marie Curie Research Fellow (2008 – 2011): University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; University of Lancaster, Lancaster, United Kingdom.
  • Postdoc/Research Associate (2003 – 2008): Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Oban, United Kingdom.
  • Researcher (2002 – 2003) Fluorotechnics, Ltd., Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
  • Senior Research Associate (2002) Centre for Marine Biofouling and Bio-Innovation, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
  • Postdoc Researcher (1999 – 2001) University of Florida, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, Gainesville, FL, U.S.A.
  • Course Coordinator & Instructor (1996 – 1997) Department of Microbiology & Immunology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. 
  • PhD (1995 - 1999) Department of Microbiology & Immunology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
  • BSc (Honours 1st Class) (1990 – 1994) Department of Microbiology & Immunology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Further information


  • “Postdoc Scholar Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduates” (Sept. 2010) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. 
  • “Marie Curie Research Fellowship” (Sept. 2008) from the European Commission.
  • “Australian Postgraduate Scholarship” (Dec. 1995) from the Australian government.

I am a member of the Marie Curie Fellows Association (MCFA) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Past memberships included the Scottish Microbiology Society, European Society for Marine Biotechnology, and the Australian Society for Microbiology.