I completed my undergraduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Leeds. This included an industrial placement year at a medical research charity where my research focused on early stage drug discovery on ion channel drug targets for the therapeutic indication of pain. Following this, my final year project at Leeds concentrated on the protein biochemistry and development of high affinity molecular binders known as affimers, whilst additionally gaining knowledge in structural biology / cryo-electron microscopy. During my undergraduate studies I was fascinated by the way proteins work and interact in the cell allowing them to carry out their native and sometimes aberrant functions when they are mutated. I was particularly drawn to the project at York as it would allow me to use structural biology, in conjunction with a variety of techniques to help solve biological and medically relevant problems. I was additionally drawn to this project through the support of two excellent supervisors; Prof Dawn Coverley and Prof Fred Antson.
CIZ1 is a complicated protein and has a variety of roles in the nucleus of cells, such as promoting DNA replication and regulating X-chromosome inactivation. CIZ1 is additionally implicated in various diseases including lung cancer. The aim of my project is to use structural biology and biochemical techniques to probe how CIZ1 works and how it may cause disease at the molecular level. I hope to be able to add to our understanding of this protein in areas which have been relatively unexplored.