GENERAL RESEARCH INTERESTS
My research uses structural biology, biochemistry and cell biology techniques underpinned by synthetic biology technologies to answer questions relating to the function of bacterial compartmentalization systems and their rational design as platforms for biotechnology and synthetic biology. I am interested in determining the structural and functional basis for the recruitment and encapsulation of proteins within metabolic compartments, and the biochemistry that occurs within these semi-permeable structures. Through an understanding of the basic biology and design principles of various compartments, I will use these as synthetic biology platforms for the production of valuable natural products, and as scaffolds for industrial biotechnology and in nano-technology applications.
I have wider interests in biocatalysis and the use of structural biology methods to understand industrially important biotransformations; and the development of optimized expression systems for recombinant proteins in bacterial host strains. In my role as Academic Lead for the Electron Microscopy Research Services I am responsible for developing technical capability in cryo-electron microscopy at Newcastle University and building new internal and external collaborations to make use of these facilities and national infrastructure for high-resolution structure determination by single-particle cryo-EM.