Key Research Interests

The overarching theme of my research is focused on "energy and life" encompassing bacterial respiration, membrane biophysics and molecular microbiology. With this fundamental knowledge I investigate the adaptations of life to selective environmental pressures, with particular focus on the function of the cell membrane.

My scientific research is divided into these overlapping areas of interest:
1) Regulation and function of respiratory chain components in the presence of final electron acceptors.
2) The interplay between respiratory components within a bacterium.
3) The affect on other bacteria or cells in the same environmental niche.
4) The role of metals in respiratory enzymes.

To address these foci I characterise the biochemical reactions of energy generation involving ionic flow and electron transfer in both a reductionist and holistic approaches from isolated proteins to whole cells and bacterial communities. My research is interdisciplinary in nature employing molecular microbiological, biochemical and biophysical techniques as appropriate. Particularly powerful methodologies I employ are electrochemistry and state-of-the-art artificial membrane architectures in the form of tethered lipid and black-lipid bilayers. The target organisms are broad and include pathogens, extremophiles, photosynthetic and biogeochemically important microbes with particular focus on alkaliphiles and organisms that perform environmental metal reduction. The work has implications ranging from health and disease through to bioremediation of toxic metals and basic understanding for the scientific community to build on.

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