The Phyto Lab

Who We Are

Dr. Megan Murray (BSc, PhD)

Environmental Biologist, lab leader, and Lecturer at UTS

Megan Murray is an Environmental Biologist and Lecturer at UTS, specializing in environmental contaminants and local-level remediation strategies. Her current research explores the phytoremediation potential of plants, using a targeted contaminant and region-specific approach. She is also investigating new and traditional oil spill remediation technologies within a comparative framework.

Her scientific approach encompasses desktop analysis, fieldwork, and manipulative experiments. She primarily works with heavy metal contaminants and petroleum-hydrocarbon mixes.

Megan is the Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning) in the UTS School of Life Sciences. This role supports students and staff engaged in postgraduate learning including coursework, micro-credentials and short courses. She also coordinates 91159 Environmental Remediation and is actively involved in several scientific and community working groups.

Lab Members

Dr Megan Murray (BSc, PhD)

Lab leader & lecturer

kieran young

Kieran Young (BSC)

phd candidate

Annaclaire McDonald (BSc)


Juliette Kidston-Lattari

Research intern

Previous Team Members

Nicholas Maricic (BSc) – Master of Science Candidate 2017 to 2018
Nicholas Maricic’s MSc research project investigated the phytoremediation potential of several widely-abundant Australian plant species using complimentary field and glasshouse contamination experiments.

Gillian Teear – Research Intern 2018
Gillian Teear’s internship investigated the performance of various native plant species as heavy metal phytoremediators. By collecting samples from known contaminated sites Gillian studied how different species perform in nature.

Summer Potvin – Research Intern 2018
Summer Potvin’s internship explored the  heavy metal accumulation dynamics of Eurasian Water Milfoil, a globally-invasive weed, across three Tasmanian Dam sites.

Luke Niven (BSc) – Honours Candidate 2017
Luke Niven’s Honours Research explored the heavy metal uptake dynamics of Lantana camara L. – one of Australia’s worst Weeds of National Significance. His work linked site-specific soil attributes with plat tissue concentrations across a wide range of habitat conditions.

Noni Doshi Dowsett (BSc, Honours) – Research Assistant 2016-2017
Noni Doshi Dowsett is a Research and Teaching Assistant at UTS. Her research interests include ecology and contaminants in ecosystems; investigating the potential impacts of contaminants, how they cycle though individual organisms, species groups, and ecosystems, and how selected contaminants can be removed. Her PhD research explores metals within seagrass beds, with a particular focus on how metals are concentrated in the sediment. Noni is also a Teaching Assistant for 91107 The Biosphere, 91159 Environmental Remediation, 91154 Ecology, and 91123 Biocomplexity.

Rebecca Pagnucco (BSc, BA) – Master of Science Candidate 2016-2017
Rebecca Pagnucco’s MSc research project explored the safety and efficacy of oil spill booms containing waste hair as the sorbent component for use in environmental remediation activities. Her research approach used manipulative mesocosm experiments, with the overall aim of giving her scientific results real-world application. Rebecca is the first UTS student to be awarded the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia’s NSW Tertiary Institution Study Grant for her MSc work.

Sally Gartland (BSc) – Honours Candidate 2016
Sally Gartland’s Honours research project explored the phytoremediation potential of regionally-targeted plant species to soil copper contamination. Her research approach combined in-situ botanical field work with manipulative glasshouse experiments with the overall aim of giving her scientific results real-world application.

Brendan Wilde – Research Intern 2017
Brendan Wilde performed an Australia-wide exploration of native Ficus species, examining their continental distribution and patterns of variation.

Steven Oddy – Research Intern 2017
Steven Oddy’s research examined within-species attributes of a key phytoremediator species via a glasshouse growth experiment.


Are you interested in collaborative projects or research experience?