We welcome enquiries from PhD-qualified researchers from all countries outside the UK wishing to apply for a European Commission-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to come to work with us at Aston. Subject areas might include recombinant protein production in yeast, translational processes in recombinant protein production, bioprocessing and the regulation of aquaporin water channels. Please contact Roslyn Bill for further details.
Membrane proteins play pivotal roles in all cellular functions. These include the transport of nutrients, the export of toxins and cell-cell interactions. They are also ubiquitous: ~30% of all proteins in all cells are membrane proteins. Consequently they are already key drug targets, with the majority of prescription pharmaceuticals on the market being targeted to this class of protein. Unfortunately, however, they are neither naturally abundant nor stable, which means that in the vast majority of cases extracting them from natural sources is not a viable option in order to study their structures, functions and biochemistry.
A main theme of our research activity is developing yeast as a “cell factory” to make membrane proteins in sufficient quantity and of appropriate quality for further study. Our approach is to move away from “trial and error” and to rationalize recombinant protein production by understanding the host cell response to it. We aim to:
- increase the volumetric yield;
- increase the yield “per cell”; and
- understand the molecular mechanisms involved.
Our review in Current Opinion in Structural Biology provides a good overview of our approach.
To listen to an interview on BBC Midlands Today click here. To see a podcast on what we do, click here. Our yeast engineering work is also highlighted in The New Optimists - click here to see the interview
A second theme of our work is examining in detail the regulation of water channel proteins (aquaporins), which is one of the protein families we produce in our yeast cell factories and are of interest as novel drug targets. We were the first to show that AQP1 is regulated by extracellular water availability (Biochemistry. 2010, 49:821-3). This work was featured on the front cover of its issue, and as part of the 50th birthday cover.
To read more about our work on G protein-coupled receptors, click here* and here.
To listen to a podcast on our work on membrane proteins more generally click here.
We acknowledge EPSRC, BBSRC, the Technology Strategy Board, AstraZeneca Ltd, Alpha Biologics Ltd, Applikon Biotechnology, Johnson & Johnson, Glycoform Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline, Polytherics Ltd, Sauflon Ltd and the European Commission for their support.
We have co-ordinated three Framework Programme 6 projects: European Membrane Protein Consortium (E-MeP), E-MeP-Lab and OptiCryst. We were a partner of the Framework Programme 7 EDICT project.We are part of the IMI-funded ENABLE project.
We are currently three postdoctoral fellows, five PhD students and a placement student.
Dr Michelle Clare is a BBSRC-funded postdoctoral fellow supported by a project in collaboration with Drs Alex Cameron and Corinne Smith, Warwick University, and Professor Jane MacKeating, University of Birmingham
Dr Stephanie Cartwright is a European Commission funded postdoctoral fellow working on the ENABLE project
Dr Pinar Karagoz is a postdoctoral fellow funded by BBSRC's FoodWasteNet NiBB in collaboration with Professor Karen Wilson.
Ms Anjana Patel is a 3rd year PhD student supported by a BBSRC CASE studentship with Sauflon Ltd
Ms Lina Mikaliunaite is a 3rd year PhD student supported by a BBSRC CASE studentship with GlaxoSmithKline Ltd
I also co-supervise 2nd year PhD students, Mr David Hardy and Mr Floren Low, with Dr Alice Rothnie; David is supported by a BBSRC CASE studentship with Calixar
Miss Ravneet Kaur is a first year PhD student supported by a BBSRC CASE studentship with Chemoxy Ltd, in collaboration with Professor Karen Wilson
Miss Simran Lallie is a placement student working with Lina Mikaliunaite
Dr Marvin Dilworth, supported by a BBSRC CASE studentship with Glycoform Ltd, passed his viva on 23rd June 2014 and took up a position at King's College London with Professor Paula Booth
Dr Zharain Bawa, supported by a BBSRC CASE studentship with AstraZeneca Ltd, passed her viva on 3rd June 2014 and took up a position at Public Health England
Dr Debasmita Sarkar, a postdoctoral fellow supported by Aston University in collaboration with OPPF-UK, took up a BBSRC-funded research fellow position at Aston University, Birmingham.
Dr Stephanie Cartwright, supported by a BBSRC targeted priority studentship in ageing, passed her viva on 15th August 2013 and took up a European-Commission-funded postdoctoral position at Aston University, Birmingham
Ms Charlie Bland, a research technician supported the EDICT project, took up a research technician post at Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing
Dr Matthew Conner, a postdoctoral researcher supported by the EDICT project, took up a lectureship at Sheffield Hallam University
Dr Sarah Routledge, supported by an EPSRC CASE studentship with Applikon Biotechnology, passed her viva on 2nd March 2012 and took up a BBSRC-funded postdoctoral position at Aston University, Birmingham
Dr Nicklas Bonander, a postdoctoral researcher supported by the OptiCryst project, took up a position at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg
Dr Nagamani Bora, a postdoctoral researcher supported by the Technology Programme, funded through EPSRC, in collaboration with Glycoform Ltd and Polytherics Ltd, took up a senior lectureship at De Montfort University
Dr Richard Darby, a former postdoctoral researcher supported by the E-MeP project, took up a position at the John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford
Dr Ljuban Grgic, a former postdoctoral researcher supported by the E-MeP project, took up a position at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, University of Cambridge
Dr Mohammed Jamshad, a former postdoctoral researcher supported by the E-MeP project, took up a position at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham
Dr William Holmes, supported by an EPSRC CASE award with Alpha Biologics, passed his viva on 11th March 2009 and took up a position at MedImmune, Cambridge
M Eric Bourguignon, a former European Research Project Officer supported by E-MeP, took up a position as a project administrator at the Technical University in Munich
Dr Daniela Tomescu is a former European Research Project Officer supported by E-MeP, took up a position as a project administrator at the University of Cambridge