Ian Thompson is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford. He is also head of the Environmental Bioengineering programme which focuses of exploiting microbiological activities for cleaning and preventing environment contamination and generation of clean energy from waste water and plant material. This includes the application of synthetic biology, engineering and nanomaterial approaches for exploiting and controlling microbial processes in engineered applications.
Previously he was Head of Environmental Biotechnology at the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in Oxford. This move reflects the shift research interests from human impact on exposed microbial communities, in the environment, to exploiting them for solving key global problems such as provision of sustainable energy, clean water and resource recycling.
A particular focus of his current research is exploiting nanomaterial-microbial cell interactions and application of ultrasound for killing and controlling problematic microbial populations and water decontamination. The research is cross-disciplinary in nature and his group has close collaborative links with colleagues in Departments of Materials, Chemistry and Plant Sciences. He works closely with the commercial sector including a spin-out company he co-founded which specialises in the development and application of bacterial biosensors for detecting environmental contaminants.