Metabolic biology and metabolic engineering
We develop microbial systems and metabolic pathways. This is for renewable carbon capture and conversion to fuels and chemicals. We look at cell-free biology for diagnostics and smart materials.
We deploy synthetic gene networks, and synthetic metabolic networks in novel chassis. This is to develop diagnostic tools and multifunctional materials. We apply predictive statistical modelling approach for engineering complex biological systems.
Structural and synthetic biology
We use structural biology, biochemistry and cell biology techniques. We underpin these with synthetic biology technologies. We seek to answer questions relating to the function of bacterial compartmentalisation systems. We look at their rational design as platforms for biotechnology and synthetic biology.
We investigate structural and functional basis for the recruitment and encapsulation of proteins. This is within metabolic compartments and underlying biochemistry.
Molecular response of bacteria to environmental stresses
We look at the effect of different metal ions on bacterial cells. We particularly look at the response of E. coli to extremely low levels of zinc ions. We look at the effect of shifting oxygen levels on bacterial cells.
Natural products, antibacterials, synthetic nucleic acids
We identified the biosynthetic route to the abyssomicins. We characterised the first bonafide Diels-Alderase. We research peptide nucleic acid as antisense-based silencers of gene expression. This is to identify antibiotic modes-of-action and silence antibiotic production in genus Streptomyces and develop species-specific antibacterial compounds.
Synthetic biology approaches are also applied to the production of self-healing compounds.
Bacterial enzymatic degradation of carbohydrates in complex microbiomes
We focus on the biochemical and structural characterisation of bacterial carbohydrate active enzymes. This is from complex microbiomes, such as the human gut microbiota.
We look at how microbes interact within complex environments through degradation of carbohydrates.