As part of the MSc year in MOAC, each student has to complete three eight-week mini projects. The projects I undertook are outlined below.
1. Stabilisation of biological membranes during cryopreservation.
Supervisor: Matthew Gibson, Department of Chemistry.
Antifreeze glycoproteins enable polar fish to survive in harsh environments, and if harnessed their properties could improve blood and organ storage as well as help to make low fat ice-cream. This project looked at the peptide poly(vinyl alcohol) as a more commercially viable alternative to antifreeze glycoproteins.
2. Rigidity analysis of HIV-1 protease.
The software FIRST was used to look at the rigidity of the enzyme HIV-1 protease, which plays a key role in the life cycle of HIV-1. Due to its role, the enzyme is a key drug target and this study looked at the effect of various inhibitors on the rigidity profile.
3. Self-assembly of long microtubules by end-to-end annealing.
Supervisor: Robert Cross, Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology.
Microtubules are involved in transport within cells as well as cell division. Their capacity to anneal in an end-to-end fashion has been acknowledged and commented on but the mechanism, which is the focus of this project, remains unclear.