I graduated from The University of Manchester with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Molecular Biology in summer 2012. During my three years of study I undertook short research placements (at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Cancer Research and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) which confirmed to me that I enjoyed working in a lab. In my final year I chose units on molecular evolution and structural biology, becoming interested in the natural evolution of enzyme function and how this process can be mimicked in the lab for their application in industrial biotechnology.
I was keen to stay in the area, after finishing university, for a number of reasons. I enjoy Manchester and am involved in student activities such as the Sports Volunteer Scheme, the university trampoline team and the wind orchestra of the Music Society. I was particularly attracted to the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology as it has developed a reputation as a leading force in biocatalysis and biomolecular engineering research in the UK. It provides a dynamic research infrastructure that enables my study to be supported by expertise across many disciplines.
I joined the the MIB, under the supervision of Professor Nick Turner in July 2012. The Turner group is primarily concerned with the development of tailored biocatalysts for industrial applications, through use of protein engineering techniques and high-throughput enzyme activity screens. My project is part of a European industrial-academic consortium, with the main aim of developing biocatalysts for the production of enantiopure chiral amines as fine chemical / pharmaceutical intermediates (www.kyrobio.eu). To achieve this I will be utilising techniques, such as gene shuffling and site-directed mutagenesis, to rationally engineer natural ammonia lyase and aminomutase enzymes, shown to be involved in the metabolism of aromatic L-amino acids.
“I was particularly attracted to the MIB as it has developed a reputation as a leading force in biocatalysis and biomolecular engineering research in the UK”.