Chitin valorisation via enzymatic deacetylation
University of Edinburgh
Prof. Dominic Campopiano
During my BSc in Biology at the University of Hull, I undertook a project in the Sturmey Lab aimed at developing and optimising a non-invasive dehydrogenase assay able to measure amino acids implicated in viable IVF embryo development. As well gaining invaluable experience in bacterial and mammalian cell culture, my time in the lab cemented my interest in research development.
Following this, I gained employment at Eli Lilly & Co. as a Cell Culture Laboratory Technician where my primary role involved working to GMP standards within ISO7 and ISO8 graded clean rooms to provide bacterial cell cultures for upstream fermentation processes. Alongside this, I utilised HPLC and various microbiological techniques to calculate product yield and detect potential contamination at critical fermentation steps. I was then promoted to a role in the development department where I was responsible for the operation and maintenance of an ambr250 modular system used as a small-scale fermentation model. Optimisation of this model enabled the high-throughput screening of genetically modified production strains and the detection of a strain resulting in double the yield usually observed.
With a desire to further explore the chemistry behind these biological processes, I returned to higher education to complete an MSc in Advanced Biochemistry at the University of Strathclyde. My dissertation, carried out in the Tucker Lab, involved high-throughput screening of mutants to assess their solvent tolerance using phenotype microarray.
Now based in the Campopiano Group at University of Edinburgh, my PhD explores protein engineering strategies to optimise enzymes for industrial biocatalysis. Specifically, I am working in collaboration with Cuantec to identify biological alternatives in the deacetylation of chitin for the production of bioplastics.
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