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Personal profile


Leena is Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. She teaches Applied, Environmental and Medical Microbiology and is actively involved in research and the supervision of project students. 

Her research interests include natural product discovery, drug discovery, bacterial interspecies interactions, plant-microbe interactions, microbiomes of the built-environment and microbial ecology in general. Leena uses a variety of tools in her research such as Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, genome mining and microbial bioinformatics.

Prior to joining Heriot-Watt University, Leena was a Senior Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Her research focused on applying NGS techniques, such as whole genome sequencing and transcriptomics, to facilitate drug discovery and development. She has a number of publications, including under the name Dr Leena Nieminen and has presented her research at conferences in the UK, Europe, Far East and North America as well as on the BBC news.

She has previously worked on drug development at a global Life Sciences company in East Lothian as well as project managing an EU project bringing together 9 European cities. She has also worked as a Visiting Scientist at the University of Glasgow.

Leena holds a Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Environmental Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Helsinki in Finland and has a Doctorate of Philosophy in Microbiology from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. As part of her undergraduate degree, she spent one year studying at the University of Gent in Belgium (where she met her Scottish husband).

Outside work, Leena has been Treasurer of the Scottish Finnish Society and enjoys spending time with her young family and travelling.

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Research Output

Differential transcription of expanded gene families in central carbon metabolism of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2)

Schniete, J. K., Reumerman, R., Kerr, L., Tucker, N. P., Hunter, I. S., Herron, P. R. & Hoskisson, P. A., 30 Mar 2020, In : Access Microbiology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Reconciling DNA replication and transcription in a hyphal organism: visualizing transcription complexes in live Streptomyces coelicolor

    Kerr, L. & Hoskisson, P. A., 1 Oct 2019, In : Microbiology. 165, 10, p. 1086-1094 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 5 Downloads (Pure)

    Diphtheria-like Disease Caused by Toxigenic Corynebacterium ulcerans Strain

    Sangal, V., Nieminen, L., Weinhardt, B., Raeside, J., Tucker, N. P., Florea, C-D., Pollock, K. G. & Hoskisson, P. A., Jul 2014, In : Emerging Infectious Disease. 20, 7, p. 1257-1258 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Revolutionizing Prokaryotic Systematics Through Next-Generation Sequencing

    Sangal, V., Nieminen, L., Tucker, N. P. & Hoskisson, P. A., 2014, In : Methods in Microbiology. 41, p. 75-101 27 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    A flexible mathematical model platform for studying branching networks: experimentally validated using the model actinomycete, Streptomyces coelicolor

    Nieminen, L., Webb, S., Smith, M. C. M. & Hoskisson, P. A., 18 Feb 2013, In : PLoS ONE. 8, 2, e54316.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 13 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)