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Manchester Institute of Biotechnology

The Rowbotham group, March 2023.

Keasbey Travel Report Report – Alison (Hoi Yee) Tam (2021, Inorganic Chemistry for Future Manufacturing – (EPSRC CDT))

I began my research visit at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) on a bright sunny morning on the 23rd of January. After meeting with my host and collaborator, Dr Jack Rowbotham (Dept. of Chemical Biology and Biological Chemistry), I attended lunch and drinks provided by my host group. Following this, initial proceedings involved various administrative tasks, setting up access to instruments, and safety inductions, which engaged the remainder of the first week.

Doing my lab work

For the following 2.5 months, I conducted various experiments at the MIB, making use of the available state-of-the-art facilities – which were highly suited to chemo/biocatalytic synthesis. These experiments encompassed optimising the expression and purification of an enzyme for biocatalysis, developing colorimetric and kinetic assays, spectroscopic characterisations, reaction optimisation, and the scaled biocatalytic synthesis of deuterated sugars for use in protein NMR. Other ventures included testing biocatalyst heterogenization on carbon supports. The successful results of this work will primarily enable the routine synthesis and use of deuterated sugars in Oxford for protein NMR, therefore happily progressing my DPhil project.

A highlight and finale to my research visit was presenting my DPhil project during a joint group meeting with several leading research groups in biocatalysis (Sabine Flitsch, Nick Turner, Jack Rowbotham). This facilitated fruitful discussions with many experienced graduate students and post-docs, and furthermore allowed me to share my work in an informal yet novel setting.

I am very grateful for the opportunity granted to me by University College Oxford in completing this research exchange through the Keasbey Travel Grant. Furthermore, I am grateful to the Rowbotham (and Turner/Flitsch) group(s) at the University of Manchester for hosting this research visit, and my Oxford supervisors Profs Kylie Vincent and Andrew Baldwin for their amazing support.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 8 August 2023

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