Research in my lab is targeted towards understanding and exploiting catalysis by metalloenzymes. Several aspects of our research have connections to Plant Sciences:
We are interested in the mechanism of N2 reduction to ammonia by the enzyme nitrogenase which is found in bacteria in the root nodules of leguminous plants. We have developed novel ways of studying this enzyme by using infrared spectroscopy to examine substrates and inhibitors binding to its active site during catalytic turnover. We are also interested in the role of nitric oxide in cell signalling.
In another area of our research, we exploit the enzyme ‘hydrogenase’ as part of a system of catalytic beads for biocatalytic steps in the synthesis of fine chemicals. These are likely to be useful in providing new routes to synthesis of agrochemicals, as well as pharmaceuticals and other fine chemicals.
We collaborate with a number of other scientists from different disciplines , including work with Lee Sweetlove (Department of Plant Sciences) on metabolite channeling between anchored enzyme pairs.