Biological catalysis, synthetic biology and biomolecular engineering.
We use biophysics, structural and chemical biology, computational simulation and enzyme engineering to study mechanism. Publications from the group reflect contributions from across these discipline areas.
Highlights have included: showing the unexpected importance of hydrogen tunneling mechanisms in enzyme catalysis; the discovery of new biological cofactors; determination of enzyme structures in complex with inhibitors (drugs); determining mechanisms of vitamin B12 and other photoreceptors in light-activated transcriptional regulation and photocatalysis.
We have engineered enzymes and microbial organisms to biosynthesize fuels (e.g. propane gas) and a wide array of chemicals and materials.
We have established state-of-the-art infrastructure at Manchester in major research centres. These include:
SYNBIOCHEM – the Synthetic Biology Research Centre for Fine and Speciality Chemicals;
MCBC - the Manchester Centre for Biophysics and Catalysis, a platform biophysics centre for ultrafast laser UV, fluorescence up-conversion and IR spectroscopy as well as a suite of advanced time-resolved spectoscopies for analysis of enzyme mechanisms.
Future BRH – the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, a national Centre of Excellence in biomanufacturing to work closely with industry to biomanufacture pharmaceuticals, high value chemicals and engineering materials.
Given the breadth of the work in the group, we have a large research team (about 50 staff) and strong collaborations with specialists in other disciplines (e.g. synthetic chemistry; materials science), both within MIB and external to Manchester.