I am interested in using biophysical tools such as single molecule fluorescence microscopy to understand biological questions.I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester in Medical Biochemistry. During my degree I co-authored a successful application to the Wellcome Trust for a summer studentship, during which I investigated the molecular mechanisms of transcription by the mitochondrial RNA polymerase (mtRNAP). Specifically, I aimed to address the mechanism of assembly of mtRNAP-transcription factor complexes on promoters using single molecule microscopy. I carried out my final year project in a different field- DNA nanotechnology and the goal of my 12 week project was to build DNA nanorobots (DNA origamis) for visualisation of transcription initiation at single molecule level.
My project focuses on identifying the structure and composition of an intercellular channel that forms in sporulating Bacillus subtilis. Bacillus subtilis is a gram-positive bacterium that adapts unfavourable conditions by forming a dormant spore. Sporulation involves an asymmetric cell division resulting in a larger mother cell and smaller forespore. The forespore is later engulfed by the mother cell in a phagocytosis like process. Upon completion of engulfment, a channel is formed between the mother cell and forespore at the heart of which is an intracellullar interaction between SpoIIQ and SpoIIIAH. The stoichiometry of subunits in the channel is unknown and no in-vivo experiments have been performed to address the stoichiometry of this channel in living cells. Slimfield microscopy has been used to determine the stiochiometry of other complexes and will be used to address this problem
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