I always thoroughly enjoyed biology and chemistry whilst at school and was motivated by the prospect of studying for a degree in science from a relatively young age. I also knew that if given the opportunity I would continue into post-graduate level study, with the intention of progressing into a research related career.
I was attracted towards the Biomolecular Mechanism and Catalysis Group housed in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB). I found that the multidisciplinary approach taken to address important fundamental questions about how enzymes function, which involves the use of kinetic, structural, spectroscopic and computational techniques, was in line with my own interests. I also appreciated how developments in understanding enzyme mechanisms are being exploited to address some of the most important current questions in science, such as Biofuel production and Biopharmaceuticals synthesis, using Molecular Bioengineering methods.
The primary aim of my PhD project is to characterize fast-timescale protein motions that facilitate catalysis in the pentaerythritol tetranitrate reductase (PETNR) enzyme. This project combines the more traditional enzyme-kinetics style analysis, with the emerging high-pressure NMR technique. The latter is just one of many techniques being utilized by researches in my group to help understand the protein dynamics associated with enzyme reactions, at higher resolutions and over smaller timescales than were previously possible. I received CASE funding from Bruker, a leading provider of analytical research tools based on magnetic resonance technology. My project makes use of new NMR equipment provided by Bruker and provides a platform upon which this experimental hardware can be showcased.
After studying for a degree in Biochemistry at Manchester University, I elected to apply for a PhD position here as well. The city caters for many of my personal interests, such as live music and sport. However, I also valued the chance to join such a large post-graduate community. This meant it was easy to find people with whom I share similar social interests and therefore enjoy myself whilst gaining a top qualification from an esteemed research establishment.
“The MIB is an exhilarating environment in which to carry out research. I enjoy associating with peers from around the world, and the up-to-date facilities mean the research undertaken here is of the highest quality. I also believe that the integration of different experimental approaches provides a key advantage over other competing groups and institutions.”