Tony Gutierrez is Associate Professor of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology at the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. His research focuses on the identification, characterization, response, ecology and biotechnology of marine microorganisms. A major focus of his lab is studying the fate and biodegradation of environmental pollutants, in particular petrochemicals, PFAS and nano- and micro-plastics. He has published widely on the microbial response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and predicting the microbial response to a major spill in the North Atlantic, with a special focus on the Faroe-Shetland Channel – a deepwater, subarctic region where oil exploration is present and potentially expanding. His lab is also exploring biosurfactants in marine microorganisms for discovering novel types of these bio-molecules for biotechnological applications. His research group uses conventional and sophisticated microbiological and molecular approaches (e.g. DNA stable isotope probing, CARD-FISH, next generation sequencing etc.).
There has been an increasing drive towards more sustainable treatment-based solutions for contaminated land management as opposed to removal or containment actions.