Dr Ian Bull

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Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry


I obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry at the University of Bristol in 1993 then continued at Bristol to study for a PhD investigating soil organic chemistry and its application in archaeological and environmental studies.

I was awarded a PhD in February 1998 and was initially employed as a NERC funded postdoctoral research assistant working on the trophic preferences and interactions of micro and mesofauna found in terrestrial soil systems. This project was carried out in collaboration with The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

In September 2001 I became the manager of the Bristol node of the NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility (LSMSF) and in November 2003 I was made a University Research Associate.

In 2007 I was promoted to a University Research Fellow and in both this and my previous capacity I have continued as Manager of the NERC LSMSF (Bristol Node). In 2019 LSMSF merged with other NERC facilities to become the National Environment Isotope Facility (NEIF) and I became Head of the Bristol NEIF Laboratory.

In January 2021, I was promoted to Associate Professor.

The majority of my time is spent conducting my own and supporting other research. I also undertake various other academic duties including the teaching of analytical chemistry (Level 2 - Intermediate Analytical Chemistry). I am also an examinations officer (L1/L2) for the Organic and Biological section.

Outside of the University I am an associate editor for the journal Organic Geochemistry and the European Journal of Soil Science. Additionally, I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the British Society for Soil Science.

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My research interests broadly encompass the use and development of biomarker and compound specific stable isotope methodologies to investigate the fate of organic compounds in a diverse range of settings within the terrestrial and fresh water environments. Current areas of interest include (but are not limited to) the:

  • molecular fate of organic matter in soil,
  • effect that soil fauna have on the decomposition of soil organic matter,
  • assessment of sewage pollutants in soils and freshwaters,
  • development and application of faecal biomarkers,
  • decomposition and detection of human and animal remains in soils,
  • development of chemical proxies for methane emissions from cattle,
  • development of organic and light isotope mass spectrometric analytical methodologies,
  • complex mixture (lipidomic/metabolomic) analysis of environmental samples

For a more lengthy overview of my research interests please refer to my personal website.

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A full list of my publications can be found in the University of Bristol publications system

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