Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Carsten Muller

Dr Carsten Muller

Senior Lecturer, Tiwtor Adrannol Ôl-raddedig

Ysgol y Biowyddorau

+44 29208 75263
Adeilad Syr Martin Evans, Ystafell C/5.09, Rhodfa'r Amgueddfa, Caerdydd, CF10 3AX
Ar gael fel goruchwyliwr ôl-raddedig


Chemical signalling is fundamental process common to all organisms. Chemical substances and mixtures are widely used to communicate between, attract and defend against organisms of the same and different species. Flavours and fragrances are essentally mixtures of chemicals, many biologically active chemicals serve as template for pharmaceuticals and anthropogenic pollution (in itself often a mixture of chemicals) can affect such communication even at sub-lethal levels.

Smells and scents, flavour and fragrance are mostly complex bouquets of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In fruit and vegetable such bouquets have been shown to indicate e.g. quality, freshness and variety of products. In animals these bouquets in the form of scent marks and signals can carry information on e.g. individuum, status, health and condition. My research investigates such VOC bouquets using state-of-the-art chemical analytical and statistical tools with the aim to understand behaviour and ecology mediated by VOCs, to monitor processes that lead to changes in VOC bouquets and based on this to develop monitoring tools for applications in commerce, conservation and health.

Interested in joining my lab as a self-funded post-graduate student or a postdoc/fellow?  Please contact me by email.


























Broadly speaking, the majority of my research aims to understand the information that is in encoded in changes and differences of profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and to identify the minimal number of chemical components that are sufficient to convey 'the message'.

'The message' can mean e.g. individuum, status, health and condition in the context of chemical ecology, behavioural ecology and disease or quality, freshness and variety of product in a postharvest biology context. Accordingly, my research addresses

1) fundamental questions of chemical communication are subject of the SWBio DTP project "How do dogs respond to changes in cortisol levels in conspecifics and humans?" in collaboration with Dr Nicola Rooney, Bristol University Veterinary School, and Claire Guest, Medical Detection Dogs (iCASE partner) and a Fondation Fyssen fellowship on blue petrels titles "Smelling good genes - odour-based discrimination of MHC-dissimilarity"collaboration with Dr Francesco Bonadonna, CEFE/CNRS, Montpellier, France). Stress memory and responses, important aspects of plant physiology, are subject of the BBSRC project "Future forages: Implications of forage adaption to climate change for ruminant production." in collaboration with Prof Hilary Rogers, BIOSI, Prof Alison Kingston-Smith, IBERS, Aberystwyth.

2) applications for monitoring of product quality & safety, are currently subject of SWBio DTP project "Salad contamination with Listeria – improving food safety through understanding plant-bacterial interactions and development of novel detection methods" in colaboration with Dr Cedric Berger and Prof Hilary Rogers, Cardiff School of Biosciences) and the project "“Multi-trait approach to enhance FRUit qualITY in post-harvest storage conditions (FRUITY)" funded by Fondazione con el Sud in collaboration with Prof Hilary Rogers, CU, Dr Natasha Spadafora, University of Calabria, Italy/Markes International, UK, Prof M Beatrice Ditonti and Dr Leonardo Bruno, University of Calabria and Prof Antonio Ferrante, University of Milan, Italy.

3) diagnostic tools in health & disease e.g. MRC P2D project "Breath Biomarkers to diagnose and monitor diabetes" in collaboration with Prof Steve Luzio, Diabetes Research Unit Cymru, Swansea University, Dr Shahin Rostami, Polyra Ltd and Ezra Carlson & Paul Hart, NanoNose Ltd and starting this within the GW4+DTP funded project "The smell of infection – detecting infectious disease and determining mechanisms underlying the spread of disease in social networks" in collaboration with Dr Sarah Perkins, BIOSI, and iCASE partner Markes International, Llantrisant.

VOCs are generally easy to collect and can be collected non-invasively, which makes VOCs particular attractive for use as diagnostic tools.

After collection, chemical analyses of VOCs are carried out using state-of-the-art chemical analytical (thermal desorption gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry) facilities in the Small Molecule Hub of the School of Biosciences, which is followed by identification of critical subsets (or biomarkers) of compounds by using advanced statistical tools such as Permutational Multivariate Analysis of Variance, Random Forest or Correlation Network Analysis.

In addition to my work on VOCs I regularly collaborate in research projects that benefit from my expertise in analytical chemistry and environmental sciences more generally. The most recent projects were "The Price of Persistence: Small Carnivore Ecology within the Anthropogenically-Degraded Kinabatangan Landscape"  in collaboration with Profs Benoit Goossens, Danau Girang Field Station, Borneo, Malaysia and Peter Kille, BIOSI, which required my support in heavy metal analysis and "Nutrient-specific foraging and the role of spiders as aphid predators" in collaboration with Prof Bill Symondson, Drs Ian Vaughan, Pablo Orozco-terWengel, BIOSI, and James Bell, Rothamsted Research, which required the development of a micro-scale assay for macro-nutrients.

Staff associated with current research projects:

* Sarah Christofides (PDRA Future forages: Implications of forage adaption to climate change for ruminant production.)

* Timothée Zidat (Postdoc/Fellow - Smelling good genes - odour-based discrimination of MHC-dissimilarity)

* Zoe Parr-Cortes (SWBio DTP Phd - How do dogs respond to changes in cortisol levels in conspecifics and humans?)

* Nico Bruyniks (SWBio DTP PhD - Salad contamination with Listeria – improving food safety through understanding plant-       bacterial interactions and development of novel detection methods)


I carry out a range of teaching from year 1 to final year undergraduate teaching, final year project supervision, PTY supervision and tutoring and supervision of postgraduate master projects. I currently contribute to:

  • Year 1
    • module 'Skills for Science' (setting and assesment of Presentation and essay topics)
    • module 'Biological Chemistry' (deputy module lead and exam lead; lectures on general, inorganic and physical chemistry, practical classes on redox titration and UV-vis spectroscopy)
  • Year 2
    • module 'Animal Diversity and Adaptations' (Lectures on Lophotrochozoa, Molluscs, Chemical Senses, Practical class on Freshwater InvertebrateTaxonomy)
    • module 'Ecology and Conservation Part B' (Lead for 'Marine Conservation field course' - Borneo Marine Field course, Gaya Island, Borneo, Malaysia)
  • Year 3
    • Biosciences Final Year Project (Project supervision)
    • module 'Evolution and Adaptation' (lectures on Species Concepts, Speciation - speed and sensory drive, Sensory Ecology, coursework on Analysis of scent data)
  • Year 4
    • module Advanced Research Methods (workshop on Small molecule analysis, essay topic and assessment for critical analysis)



1989 - 1995

Doctor in Natural Sciences Carl-v.-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany

Thesis work: Isolation and Identification of a female Sex Pheromone in Alitta succinea (supervisor: Prof Erich Zeeck)


Diplom in Chemistry (MSc)  Carl-v.-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany.

Thesis work: Detection of low molecular weight organic compounds in the sea water of the German Bight applying the Grob-Hersch closed-loop stripping technic (GHCLS). (supervisor: Prof Erich Zeeck)


Vordiplom in Chemistry (BSc) Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany.

Professional experience:

2015 to date

Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

1999 - 2015

Lecturer, Cardiff University

1997 - 1999

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Cardiff University


Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, WÖRWAG Pharma Ltd, Böblingen, Germany


Lecturer and course leader: Environmental Consultancy, IPB, Ossa, Germany


Postgraduate research assistant, Marine Chemical Ecology laboratory, Prof Erich Zeeck, Carl-v.-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

  • Member of the British Ecological Society
  • Member of the Marine Biological Association of the UK (Mem.MBA)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Pwyllgorau ac adolygu

  • Guest editor special issue "Sampling, Separation and Isolation Techniques of Flavour Compounds" 2021 in 'Molecules' (MDPI)
  • Grant reviewer BBSRC and ESF
  • Journal reviewer for e.g. Scientific Reports, Frontiers Microbiology, Food Chemistry, Food Research, Postharvest Biology and Technology,

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of

  • vertebrate chemical ecology
  • plant volatiles
  • microbial volatiles
  • volatolomics

Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Ayman Asiri

Ayman Asiri

Myfyriwr ymchwil

Themâu ymchwil


  • Cemeg ddadansoddol
  • Ymddygiad anifeiliaid
  • Ecoleg ymddygiadol
  • Bioleg planhigion
  • Moleciwlau sy'n actif yn fiolegol