Dr. Ian Head is a professor of Environmental Microbiology at Newcastle University, in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. His scientific accomplishments have been at the
interface of Microbiology and Earth Sciences. He has introduced a new
conceptual model of the deep biosphere in petroleum reservoirs. His
research has shown that microbial populations in petroleum reservoirs are
focused at the oil water transition zone at the base of the reservoir and
that this leads to gradients in oil composition. These gradients have been
used to assess rates of hydrocarbon degradation in biodegraded, heavy oil
reservoirs. His research has been central in revealing the mechanisms responsible for the development of the world's immense heavy oil deposits - dramatic evidence of the power of the very small to influence globally significant Earth processes. They have also made important contributions to understanding key elements in the microbial ecology of the carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycles in natural and engineered environments.