- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thesis title: Investigating the role of the light antenna protein LHC-II in the structure and dynamic reorganization of photosynthetic membranes
Sophie is Postgraduate Researcher within the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Research Group at the University of Leeds (Oct 2017 - present). Previously, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham, where she was awarded a First Class MPhys in Physics with Nanoscale Physics.
Her previous research includes funded placements at Diamond Light Source, where she investigating the fabrication of SMALPs as a method of the purication and solubilisation of membrane proteins whilst maintaining the native lipid environment, and at the Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory at the University of Birmingham, where she investigated the immobilisation of immunoglobulin G on a gold substrate as a method to design nanoscale devices for disease detection and the formation of colloidal structures for nanosphere lithography and microscopic arrays.
She is a member of the Institute of Physics and the British Biophysical Society. She was formerly involved in the University of Birmingham Astronomical Society, where she held the position of Chairperson (2015 - 2016), Secretary (2016 - 2017) and Publicity officer (2014 - 2015).
A structural feature that is ubiquitous to all land plants is the stacking of photosynthetic membranes into cylindrical grana thylakoids. The high concentration of LHC-II in these systems aids contributes to the tight appression of thylakoid membranes; playing a role in the increase efficiency of light absorption and energy transfer, and the dynamic stacking or unstacking of the grana aids in the photoprotection of the photosynthetic system in extreme light conditions. However the exact mechanism behind the self-assembly of these systems, and the dynamic behaviour is largely unknown.
My research investigates the role of the light harvesting antenna protein, LHCII, in photosynthetic membrane stacking and dynamics. I aim to use a range of microscopic techniques (Atomic Force Microscopy [AFM], Epifluorescence microscopy, Confocal microscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy [FLIM]), micro/nano-scale patterning, and biochemical techniques to build model photosynthetic systems. These model systems will be used as the framework for an LHC-II specific investigation into the structure of photosynthetic grana stacks and their dynamic response to physiochemical conditions. I will also use correlated AFM and FLIM measurements to provide a unique insight into the relationship between the photoprotective role of LHCII and the structural rearrangment of photosynthetic membranes.
- MPhys First Class, Physics with Nanoscale Physics