I joined the University of Leeds as a Senior Research Technician in January 2011 to help establish the BioScreening Technology Group (BSTG). The BSTG developed a non-antibody scaffold protein called Adhiron (now known as Affimer), which constrains one or two variable peptide sequences for molecular recognition purposes. Phage display libraries of Affimer can be screened against a wide range of target molecules to identify specific binders. The BSTG has formed collaborative partnerships with academics, clinicians and industry to develop Affimer proteins as reagents for R&D, diagnostics, and therapeutics. We work in collaboration with Avacta Life Sciences where Affimer technology is commercialised.
My main responsibility for the BSTG is to fulfil phage display screening requirements for our collaborators (including phage ELISAs) and I am mostly responsible for the selections requested by Avacta Life Sciences. I am also experienced in other techniques provided by the BSTG as part of the selection service - e.g. subcloning Affimer sequences into expression vectors, production and purification of Affimer proteins, and characterising their functions as research reagents (affinity or recognition reagents).
As well as working full-time, I am also a part-time PhD student (from October 2015). My project is to target SH3 domains with Affimers and use them to study protein-protein interactions in cell signalling pathways implicated in human cancers. My work on this project has also contributed to the BSTG by allowing me to develop new phage display screening strategies and further investigate Affimer proteins as reagents in pull-down assays, and in cell-based assays.
I obtained my BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology from Newcastle University in 2002. Previous to my career at the University of Leeds, I have been employed in scientific roles in both industrial and academic settings, and now have over 15 years’ experience in fields of bioscience. I have worked in industries that are GLP/GMP compliant, and operate to ISO 9001 and ISO 17025 standard. I was involved in the development of an IVD medical device, which is now CE marked and has FDA 510(k) clearance. I have also been involved in the assessment of class III medical device technologies that would require premarket approval, and preclinical and clinical studies. I have also been employed as a research technician at Newcastle University in the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB), and the Institute for Ageing and Health (IAH).
- BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology (Newcastle University, 2002)