View all news

Biochemist wins Faculty's Best Doctoral Research Thesis Prize 2016/17

Computationally generated model of a de novo ‘maquette’ enzyme docked with a substrate. The distance of electron tunnelling that would occur during catalysis is indicated by the red dashed line.

26 October 2017

An annual prize is made for the thesis considered to be the best within each faculty. Internal and external examiners were invited to nominate suitable theses and one winner has been selected from each faculty by members of the Research Degrees Exam Board, which oversees the examination process for research awards. The Board is chaired by Professor Sally Heslop, Academic Director of Graduate Studies.

This year's winner of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences Best Doctoral Research Thesis is Daniel Watkins, supervised by Dr Ross Anderson.

‘Integrating peroxidase functionality into a de novoin vivo assembled, oxygen-binding cytochrome c maquette’

Enzymes are essential biological molecules that are required by all living organisms. Many enzymes have substantial medical and commercial value. There is global interest in designing and constructing artificial enzymes, which although inspired by their natural counterparts have greatly enhanced properties and activities. Dr Watkins’ thesis focused on deriving simple principles from the study of natural enzymes and applying them to build highly active enzymes. The result of his labours was the creation of an artificial enzyme with exemplary properties. His enzyme has proven to be the most active example yet constructed, eclipsing not only the activities of other artificial enzymes, but also those of several natural enzymes. Dr Watkins published his landmark design in Nature Communications. In addition, his thesis has yielded an additional three papers and was discussed in two review articles. His work in Dr Anderson’s lab was funded jointly by the BBSRC and the ERC.

Edit this page