← Back to Event List

Seminar: Dr. Joy Watts, University of Portsmouth

Better Together



Date & Time

February 23, 2022, 3:00 pm4:00 pm


February 23, 2022 at 3:00pm

Title: Better Together - Microbial Diversity and Symbiosis in Unusual Places

Speaker: Dr. Joy Watts 

Host: Dr. Kevin Sowers

Contact imetdirectorsoffice@umces.edu for zoom details. 

Abstract: Microorganisms are essential for global biogeochemical cycles and environmental health, however, often the focus is upon the small percentage of microbes that are pathogenic. In this presentation, I will focus on ‘microbial dark matter’, the positive aspects of microbes in the environment and their critical importance to our health and wellbeing. In this presentation some examples of the positive and negative aspects of microbial interactions currently being studied in the Watts lab, will be discussed.

Bio: Joy Watts is Professor of Environmental Microbiology and a member of the Center for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth UK. Her scientific training started with an undergraduate degree at Liverpool, then a PhD in soil microbiology with Prof. Wellington at the University of Warwick. Followed by a wonderful PDRA experience working on PCB dehalogenations in Prof. Sowers laboratory at IMET (then COMB) between 1998 to 2004.  With a subsequent Assistant Professor position at Towson University till 2010, where she obtained the FCSM Endowed Chair and started collaborating with Dr Schreier (IMET) on an NSF funded project on xylophagous fish. She then returned to a SL position at Portsmouth where her research group is focused upon the application of molecular tools to better understand microbial diversity and important interactions in environmental systems. This includes; diversity and function of microbes associated with the GI tracts of wood eating organisms; novel pathways for plastic degradation; antimicrobial resistance in fish (Atlantic mackerel); and the potential debromination activity of the microbial community of marine sponges. She has active expert panel roles for the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme, she is Editor-in-Chief for Environmental Microbiome and is an advisor for the Marine Microbiome Policy Report.