Dr Kim Marie Handley

PhD, Environmental Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology, University of Manchester, UK

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Senior Lecturer


Following the completion of my PhD at the University of Manchester in 2008 I was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley (2008-2012) where I used proteogenomic techniques to study microbial community interactions in the terrestrial subsurface. I then undertook a second postdoctoral research position at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory (2012-2015) where I studied the physiology and distribution of uncultivated microbial communities in marine, terrestrial and built environments using environmental genomics. In 2015 I returned to New Zealand to take up a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship at the University of Auckland.

Research | Current

My group studies the metabolism and lifestyles of microbial communities, their impact on environment or host, and their roles in biogeochemical cycling. A large part of our research aims to understand microbial processes in aquatic environments, such as streams, estuaries and aquifers using genomic techniques. Examples of our research include:

  • Application and development of approaches in environmental genomics to elucidate microbial ecosystems, e.g. from stream-to-sea (funded by Genomics Aotearoa)
  • The biogeochemical role of microbial communities in anthropogenically perturbed coastal marine environments (supported by a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship).
  • The formation of toxin-producing cyanobacterial biofilms in streams (with Dr. Susie Wood, Cawthron Institute, Nelson, NZ)
  • The metabolic capacity of groundwater communities (collaboration with GNS and ESR funded by an MBIE Smart Ideas Grant)
  • The metabolic role of marine fish gut microbiomes (collaboration with PIs Profs Kendall Clements, SBS, and Lindsey White, AUT, funded by an MBIE Endeavour Fund grant)
  • The physiology and evolution of bacterial sponge symbionts (collaboration with PI Dr. Laura Steindler, University of Haifa, Israel)

Postdoctoral Researchers (current):

  • Dr David Waite (Environmental microbial genomics)
  • Dr Camen Astudillo-Garcia (Environmental microbial genomics)

Postgraduate supervision

Current students:

  • Hwee Sze Tee (PhD candidate)
  • Katie Worrallo (PhD candidate)
  • Jian Boey (PhD candidate)
  • Chanenath Sriaporn (PhD candidate)
  • Olivia Mosley (PhD candidate)
  • Emilie Gios (PhD candidate)
  • Cesar Facimoto (PhD candidate)
  • Alessandro Pisaniello (Co-supervised PhD candidate, Clements Lab)
  • Victor Gambarini (Co-supervised PhD candidate, Lear Lab)
  • Syrie Hermans (Co-supervised PhD candidate, Lear Lab)
  • Giselle Wong (Co-supervised PhD candidate, Taylor Lab)

Past students:

  • 2019 - Claire Delecrin (Intern, University of Bordeaux)
  • 2018 - Pierre Mathray (Intern, Lyon Catholic University)
  • 2017 - Chanenath Sriaporn (BSc Hons)
  • 2017 - Agathe Couturier (Intern, Lyon Catholic University)
  • 2016 - Redmond Mortimer (BSc Hons)


2014 Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Royal Society of NZ

Areas of expertise

  • Microbiology
  • Genomics
  • Biogeochemistry

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 252
New Zealand

Web links