The overall proposal will be to evaluate and take forward the application of already identified thermophilic lactonase enzymes from three different enzyme classes to combat microbial biofilm formation towards the improvement of Unilever’s Healthcare Products.
The student will also search through a thermophilic genomic and metagenomic DNA database available at Exeter for additional related enzymes. They will clone and over-express newly identified enzymes and carry out structural studies of the best performing enzymes by both X-ray crystallography and molecular modelling to understand enzyme substrate selectivity and stability. They will evaluate the effectivity of the different thermophilic lactonase enzymes to disrupt or prevent formation of biofilms using standard plate assays, SEM and high throughput model biofilm assays in collaboration with the Biofilm prevention laboratories at Unilever,
Students with experience in bioinformatics, molecular biology techniques including cloning and protein over-expression, protein purification and biochemical and structural characterisation, are encouraged to apply.