I moved from Nottingham to Leeds in September 2012 to start my degree in Chemistry. Whilst studying at Leeds I took part in a programme that lead me to studying the third year of my undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass). As part of my laboratory project at UMass I performed research as part of the Knapp group into the effect of substrate structure on the activity of the HIF hydroxylase enzyme. When I returned to Leeds I undertook my MChem project in the Turnbull group investigating fluorescent probes for studying proteins in virus like particles. Once I had graduated I continued my academic career here at Leeds by obtaining a Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship (LARS) and undertaking a Ph.D. in Medicine.
My hobbies include prop making and playing squash. Alongside my research I also demonstrate in undergraduate chemistry labs and teach research skills to sixth form students. I am very passionate about the sciences and am always keen to take part in public engagement events. My project is split between three departments, but I'm mostly found in Chemistry or Physics.
Staphylococci are the most common cause of infection in indwelling medical devices (1). Their ability to form ‘biofilms’ makes treatment difficult and can lead to reoccurring infection. The aim of this project is to develop a novel method of imaging and destroying these biofilms using ultrasound contrast agents known as microbubbles. The surfaces of these micron-sized gas bubbles can be functionalised with proteins that bind to a target with high specificity. These surface bound proteins could offer a route for localisation of microbubbles to the bacterial biofilm, then utilising ultrasound to locate and ultimately destroy it. For biofilm growth, small volume flow systems involving microfluidic devices are being developed for studying biofilms.
(1) Otto, M. Staphylococcus epidermidis — the 'accidental' pathogen. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2009, 7, pp.555-567.
- International Masters in Chemistry (MChem)