Novel sugar compound discovery for industry
There is huge demand for new sugar compounds from industry, including biomedicine, oil, textiles, food and cosmetics. Discovering such compounds is, therefore, highly important.
Marine bacteria are excellent producers of these compounds and as the marine environment is the least explored ecosystem, it presents a gold mine for discovery.
I focus on discovering and refining these compounds for application within industry; taking a bacterial sample from the marine environment to application.
Initially I look for tell-tale signs of industrially relevant compounds based on their physical characteristics (stickiness, gloopiness, stringiness). Each application requires a very different compound, thus I make an assessment for each.
I then look for novelty through assessing the DNA of relevant bacteria, identifying parts of DNA that make them likely to produce novel, industrially relevant compounds. I further back up this assessment using fancy equipment that can tell me what the compound is made of.
My aims are to expand the amount of industrially relevant compounds available on the market, further the understanding of the DNA used to create these compounds and work out how I can genetically engineer bacteria to produce tailor-made sugar compounds.
Dr David Green, SAMS
Dr Arlene Ditchfield, SAMS
European Union Social Fund
2015 ENVExpo, University of East Anglia
2015 Postgraduate Conference, Plymouth University
2017 Postgraduate Conference, SAMS UHI
Other research outputs
My Masters research was presented to the Cook Islands government on my behalf. I was bioprospecting for novel fluorescent proteins.
2017 Lab Assistant. University of Exeter
2016 Biotechnologist. Protein Technologies Ltd
2015 MRes Applied Marine Science. University of Plymouth
2014 BSc (Hons) Maritime Science. University of Plymouth
BSc Hons Marine Science: Assisting teaching in third-year biotechnology laboratory practicals
Have taught many secondary school students biotechnological and synthetic biology techniques such as DNA cloning, industrial scale-up and protein expression.
International collaboration with California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) and the government of the Cook Islands during my masters at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Fieldwork was carried out in Aitutaki, Cook Islands, bioprospecting for novel fluorescent proteins in coral reefs.
Public engagement experience
Have delivered talks to secondary schools about fluorescent proteins and biotechnology.
2015: Delivered a talk to the then Secretary of Defence, Michael Fallon, during my Master at PML.
Associate Member of the Royal Society of Biology
Professional training courses