Dr Gert-Jan Jeunen

Dr. Gert-Jan Jeunen
Dr. Gert-Jan Jeunen

Gert-Jan underwent his PhD at the Gemmell lab, and added “Dr.” to his name in September 2018. He quickly found a way of keeping himself busy, working as a Research Fellow in the Gemmell group.

In 2021 Gert-Jan was successful in attaining a Marsden Fast-Start grant to use filter feeders – namely sponges – as a way of accessing biodiversity in aquatic environments. Filter feeding organisms constantly filter water from their surroundings, and some of them are very good at retaining particles like floating cells and debris from other organisms. These particles will contain DNA (or environmental DNA – eDNA). Gert-Jan’s Fast Start grant will allow him to access sponges in terms of their suitability as marine filter feeders to capture and retain eDNA, but also if it is possible to use preserved sponge specimens – such as the ones in museums – to do the same, and gauge the biodiversity of the environments where they were collected many years ago!

Gert-Jan recently moved to the Marine Sciences Department, where he is also a PostDoctoral Fellow. We are sad to see him leave, but he is still very much involved with the Gemmell Lab. His research continues to focus in ways of harvesting and detecting environmental DNA (eDNA) in aquatic systems and its use to monitor biodiversity.

He still supervises a number of Gemmell lab students, some bridging work between Marine Sciences the Gemmell Lab, among them Joe Muldoon, Ella Dewar, Michelle Liddy, Benjamin Duran-Vinet, Jonika Edgecombe and Ryan Easton.

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