The Molecular lab team

Ranbir Bailey

Lab Manager

Ranbir’s primary focus is lab operations (facility management, health & safety, user support), but she also carries out research on NHM collections. She obtained a BSc in Biomedical Science & MSc in Biomedical Research from King’s College London, starting her career working on the genetics of breast cancer at the Ludwig Institute, UCL. She later worked on the development of clinical grade lentiviral vectors to target cancer at UCL’s Division of Infection & Immunity, before moving into divisional lab management.

Piotr Cuber

Molecular Biologist (implementation)

Piotr's current role involves automation of lab protocols and processes for high-throughput sequencing projects. He joined the Molecular Biology Lab in August 2020,  developing a new method for characterization of air-borne pathogens with the application of next-generation sequencing through the DARPA AirSeq project. He then focussed on development and optimization of DNA barcoding methods for the DToL project. Piotr has a PhD in Biomedical Sciences, his thesis investigated ticks and tick-borne pathogens. He continued his work with various invertebrates at the University of Gdansk, then at the Pirbright Institute where he worked on mosquito gene drive systems.

Yuen Ting Chan

Senior Research Assistant (Robotics)

Yuen started her career in forensics, working with a wide range of police exhibits from every type of fixed and preserved tissue, faeces, urine, bone and teeth. She transitioned to research and implementation of services; working at  UKHAS to implement one of the first fully automated NGS services for Illumina technology in the UK. She also worked on HIV and Hepatitis C, looking at Whole Genome Sequencing directly from Clinical Samples, now one of the first UKAS accredited RNA WGS Clinical Service in the UK. Her role at the museum is to automate sequencing techniques to provide a more flexible service and give researchers opportunities to bring their research into next generation sequencing.

Silvia Salatino

Computational Biologist

Silvia’s primary focus is developing computational pipelines to analyse sequencing data from several applications, including DNA metabarcoding, functional transcriptomics, and de novo assemblies. Before joining the NHM, she earned a PhD in Bioinformatics in Switzerland and spent five years working at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford.

Claire Griffin

Sequencing Assistant

With an BSc Honours Degree in Applied Biology, Claire came to the Museum in 1999 after working in Pathology & Oncology at Charing Cross Hospital. She is the Senior Sanger Sequencing Technician, specialising in DNA extraction from difficult or degraded material. She is a key figure in the operation and management of high throughput pipelines, undertaking frequent commercial projects. Claire liaises closely with staff and students- providing support and training in various technologies and techniques.

Carla Gustave

Lab Assistant

Carla has an Honours degree in Biology from the University of Manchester and previously worked as a lab scientist and trainer at the Alderley Park COVID-19 Lighthouse Lab.  This involved RNA extractions and qPCRs to analyse patient samples. At the NHM, she assists with lab operations and management, as well as helping out on numerous R&D projects.

Andie Hall

Research Assistant

Andie has worked in Molecular labs at the NHM since 2004, first in Entomology, then Zoology. With a BSc in Zoology & MSc in wildlife management from the University of Reading, she began her career in R&D of pharmaceuticals. Andie’s focus is on HTS (Illumina & nanopore) for researchers, students & commercial projects. She works on all sample types from environmental to tissue, eukaryote & prokaryote, though specialises in insects.

Thomas Creedy


Thomas joined the Molecular Labs in May 2022 as a Bioinformatician. He started out as an arthropod community ecologist, moving into the molecular ecology realm with a PhD at the NHM on metabarcoding rainforest canopy arthropods. After postdocs working on metagenomics for island biogeography and climate change impacts on cocoa, he currently works on developing pipelines for the analysis of amplicon data, genome skims and ancient DNA.

Ger Kelly

Senior molecular biologist

Elena Lugli

Research Assistant

Elena has been part of the Team since 2015 working in both lab operations & research. She has a degree in biochemistry and a DPhil in fungal pathogens from the University of Oxford, continuing her academic career at New York University’s medical centre & the Kennedy Institute, University of Oxford. While at the museum she has worked on an incredible range of diverse species, though parasites and pathogens remain her favourites.

Molecular lab selected publications 

Tachystola mulliganae sp.nov. (lep.:Oecophoridae) a western Australian species adventive in west London (2023). Mark J Sterling, Colin W Plant, Ben W Price, Piotr Cuber, Andie Hall, Jordan Beasley and David Lees. Entomologist’s Rec.J.Var. 135 (2023) 225. 

Sequencing Analysis of MUC6 and MUC16 Gene Fragments in Patients with Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Reveals Novel Mutations: A Preliminary Study. Gaździcka J, Biernacki K, Salatino S, Gołąbek K, Hudy D, Świętek A, Miśkiewicz-Orczyk K, Koniewska A, Misiołek M, Strzelczyk JK. Current Issues in Molecular Biology. 2023; 45(7):5645-5661.

Ooencyrtus pitosina (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)–A natural enemy of Samoan swallowtail butterfly Papilio godeffroyi (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Polaszek A, Noyes JS, Lugli EB, Schmaedick MA, Peck RW, Banko PC, et al. PLoS ONE 18(8): e0288306.

Inferring the ecological and evolutionary determinants of community genetic diversity. (2023).Isaac Overcast, Víctor Noguerales, Emmanouil Meramveliotakis, Carmelo Andújar, Paula Arribas, Thomas J. Creedy, Brent C. Emerson, Alfried P. Vogler, Anna Papadopoulou, Hélène Morlon. Molecular Ecology. 2023;00:1–17.

CRISPR-assisted test for Schistosoma haematobium. (2023). Dounia Cherkaoui, Silvia G. Mesquita, Da Huang, Elena B. Lugli, Bonnie L. Webster & Rachel A. McKendry. March 2023 Scientific Reports 13(1). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-31238-y

Comparing the accuracy and efficiency of third generation sequencing technologies, Oxford Nanopore Technol-ogies, and Pacific Biosciences, for DNA barcode sequencing applications (2023). Piotr Cuber , Darren Chooneea , Clementine Geeves , Silvia Salatino Thomas J. Creedy , Claire Griffin , Laura Sivess, Ian Barnes, Ben Price, Raju Misra . Ecological Genetics and Genomics 28 (2023) 100181

Development of real-time and lateral flow recombinase polymerase amplification assays for rapid detection of Schistosoma mansoni (2022). Mesquita Silvia Gonçalves, Lugli Elena Birgitta, Matera Giovanni, Fonseca Cristina Toscano, Caldeira Roberta Lima, Webster Bonnie. Front. Microbiol., 18 November 2022 Sec. Infectious Agents and Disease Volume 13 - 2022

Evaluation of genome skimming to detect and characterise human and livestock helminths (2023). Marina Papaiakovou, Natalia Fraija-Fernández , Katherine James, Andrew G. Briscoe, Andie Hall, Timothy P. Jenkins, Julia Dunn, Bruno Levecke, Zeleke Mekonnen, Piet Cools, Stephen R. Doyle, Cinzia Cantacessi, D.T.J. Littlewood.  International Journal for Parasitology. Article in Press. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2022.12.002

Air pollution induces Staphylococcus aureus USA300 respiratory tract colonization mediated by specific bacterial genetic responses involving the global virulence gene regulators Agr and Sae. (2022)  Jo Purves, Shane J. K. Hussey, Louise Corscadden, Lillie Purser, Andie Hall, Raju Misra, Liza Selley, Paul S. Monks, Julian M. Ketley, Peter W. Andrew and Julie A. Morrissey. Environmental Microbiology 00(00), 00–00 doi:10.1111/1462-2920.16076.

Unprecedented frequency of mitochondrial introns in colonial bilaterians. (2022) Helen Louise Jenkins, Rachael Graham, Joanne Sara Porter, Leandro Manzoni Vieira, Ana Carolina Sousa de Almeida, Andie Hall, Aaron O’Dea, Simon Edward Coppard &  Andrea Waeschenbach . Sci Rep 12, 10889 (2022).

Revision of the World Species of Megaphragma Timberlake (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) (2022). Polaszek A, Fusu L, Viggiani G, Hall A, Hanson P, Polilov AA. Insects. 13(6):561.

The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Halting Sustainable Development in the Colca y Volcanes de Andagua UNESCO Global Geopark in Peru. (2022). Andrzej Gałaś , Roya Elaine Haghighat-Khah, Piotr Cuber , Melvin Benavente , Denise Gorfinkiel and Slávka Gałaś. Prospects and Future Sustainability 14, 4043

Diversity and Phylogeny of Novel Cord-Forming Fungi from Borneo. (2022). Foster, R.; Hartikainen, H.; Hall, A.; Bass, D.  Microorganisms 10, 239.

Comparative Genomics Analysis Demonstrated a Link Between Staphylococci Isolated from Different Sources: A Possible Public Health Risk. (2021). Cave, R., Misra, R., Chen, J., Wang, S. and Mkrtchyan, H.V.  Frontiers in Microbiology (12)257 DOI 10.3389/fmicb.2021.576696​

DEFRA Centre of Excellence for DNA Methods: Evaluation of DNA barcode libraries used in the UK and developing an action plan to fill priority gaps. Natural England Joint Publication JP035. (2020). ​Ben Price, Andy Briscoe, Raju Misra and Gavin Broad

The levels of sICAM-1, sELAM-1, TNFα and sTNFR1 proteins in patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma in tumor and corresponding normal mucosa (2020).​Joanna Katarzyna Strzelczyk, Piotr Cuber, Benjamin Bochon, Krzysztof Gajdzik, Janusz Strzelczyk, Łukasz Krakowczyk, Andrzej Wiczkowski, Aleksander Jerzy Owczarek and Zofia Ostrowska. Acta Biochimica Polonica Epub: No 5449. Vol. 67.

Mitochondrial and plastid genome variability of Corallina officinalis (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) (2020) Chris Yesson, Xueni Bian, Christopher Williamson, Andrew G Briscoe & Juliet Brodie Applied Phycology, 1:1, 73-9,  DOI: 10.1080/26388081.2020.1827940​

Treatments for Lipid Oxidation in Taxidermy and Impact on DNA Recovery (2020) Lu Allington-Jones & Ranbir Bailey Studies in conservation. DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2020.1855858

Development of a Molecular Snail Xeno-monitoring Assay to Detect Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma bovis Infections in their Bulinus Snail Hosts. 2020. Tom Pennance, John Archer, Elena Birgitta Lugli, Penny Rostron ,Felix Llanwarne, Said Mohammed Ali, Amour Khamis Amour,Khamis Rashid Suleiman, Sarah Li , David Rollinson, Jo Cable, Stefanie Knopp, Fiona Allan, Shaali Makame Ame  and Bonnie Lee Webster. Molecules 2020, 25, 4011; doi:10.3390/molecules25174011

Metabarcoding unsorted kick-samples facilitates macroinvertebrate-based biomonitoring with increased taxonomic resolution, while outperforming environmental DNA (2020) Lyndall Pereira-da-Conceicoa, Vasco Elbrecht, Andie Hall, Andrew Briscoe,  Helen Barber-James, Benjamin Price. Environmental DNA. 2020;00:1–19. DOI: 10.1002/edn3.116  ​

The first mitochondrial genomes of endosymbiotic rhabdocoels illustrate evolutionary relaxation of atp8 and genome plasticity in flatworms (2020). Marlies Monnens, SofieThijs, Andrew G Briscoe et al. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules Volume 162, 1 November 2020, Pages 454- 469.

Polaszek A, Noyes JS, Russell S, Ramadan MM (2020) Metaphycus macadamiae (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) – a biological control agent of macadamia felted coccid Acanthococcus ironsidei (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae) in Hawaii. PLoSONE 15(4):e0230944.

​The increased sensitivity of qPCR in comparison to Kato-Katz is required for the accurate ​assessment of the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminth infection in settings that have received multiple rounds of mass drug administration. Dunn, JC. Papaiakovou, M. Thwe Han, K. Chooneea, D…Misra, R. et al. Parasites & Vectors volume 13, Article number: 324 (2020) doi: 10.1186/s13071-020-04197-w

​Redefining Pyropia (Bangiales, Rhodophyta): Four New Genera, Resurrection of Porphyrella and Description of Calidia pseudolobata sp. nov. From China (2020). Li En Yang, Yin Yin Deng, Guang Ping Xu, Stephen Russell, Qin Qin Lu, Juliet Brodie . Journal of Phycology

Equivocal Evidence for Colony Level Stress Effects on Bumble Bee Pollination Services. (2020) Arran Greenop, Nevine Mica-Hawkyard, Sarah Walkington, Andrew Wilby, Samantha M Cook, Richard F Pywell and Ben A Woodcock. Insects , 11, 191; doi:10.3390/insects11030191 

Comparative Proteomic Profiling of Methicillin-Susceptible and Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. (2020) Xu Z, Chen J, Vougas K, Shah A, Shah H, Misra R, Mkrtchyan HV  Proteomics.  Jan;20(2):e1900221. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201900221.

Novel Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC8 Clone Identified in a Hospital Setting in Armenia. (2019) Jamrozy D, Misra R, Xu Z, Ter-Stepanyan MM, Kocharyan KS, Cave R, Hambardzumyan AD, Mkrtchyan HV.  Microbiology. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01592

Pooling as a strategy for the timely diagnosis of soil transmitted helminths in stool: value and reproducibility. Marina Papaiakovou, James Wright, Nils Pilotte, Darren Chooneaa et al. (2019). Parasites and Vectors. DOI:10.1186/s13071-019-3693-3

Integrated Approach Reveals Role of Mitochondrial Germ-Line Mutation F18L in Respiratory Chain, Oxidative Alterations, Drug Sensitivity, and Patient Prognosis in Glioblastoma (2019). Kathleen Keatley ,Samuel Stromei-Cleroux ,Tammy Wiltshire ,Nina Rajala,Gary Burton,William V. Holt,D. Timothy J. Littlewood, Andrew G. Briscoe et al  International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20(13):3364. DOI: 10.3390/ijms20133364

Deep-Sea anthropogenic macrodebris harbours rich and diverse communities of bacteria and archaea. (2018)​ Woodall, L.C., Jungblut, A.D., Hopkins, K., Hall. A., Robinson, L.F., Gwinnett, C., Paterson, G.L.J. Plos One.

Have a question?

Get in touch.

Molecular laboratories

We carry out interdisciplinary research for all Museum departments.