The Hay group are interested in how biological processes – reactions and interactions – are governed by their underlying physics/physical chemistry. The main focus of this work is the role of protein dynamics and quantum mechanics during enzyme catalysis and the use of proteins and enzymes as structural and/or functional biomaterials and sensors. This work employs both experimental and theoretical approaches, with an emphasis on instrument and method development and the development of new theory and models to underpin experiment. Much of the work involves computational chemistry, often combing molecular dynamics (MD) simulations with enzyme active site density functional theory (DFT) ‘cluster’ models.
Sam received a first class honours degree in biochemistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand (2000), and his PhD in biophysics from the Australian National University (2004). He then spent a year at Stockholm University as a Wenner-Gren visiting postdoctoral fellow (2004-2005) before moving to the University of Manchester to work with Nigel Scrutton as a postdoctoral research associate. Sam was a recipient of the RSC Rita and John Cornforth Award in 2009 and in 2010 he received a BBSRC David Phillips fellowship. In 2014 he was made a lecturer, in 2017 senior lecturer, in 2019 reader and in 2021 he became Professor of Biophysical Chemistry.