The research interests in our lab concern the molecular analysis of resistance to environmental and chemical stresses. This rather broad area allows us to investigate some quite divergent topics; indeed, it is remarkable where an interest in stress resistance can lead you!
1. Improving cryopreservation techniques?
Although antifreeze proteins (AFPs) are found in certain organisms that are exposed to low temperatures and have been studied for several decades, we still do not appreciate their function in low temperature protection. One hypothesis is that AFPs can protect membranes and stop them from leaking at low temperatures. The goal of the project is to improve methods of cryopreservation, crucial now with the expanding use of stem cells in medicine. This project will be particularly suited to students who are interested in genetic engineering and biochemistry since the methods involve fermentation production of recombinant bacteria, protein purification and some ‘very cool’ ice assays!
2. What is the impact of nanoparticles on life processes?
Nanoparticles were not manufactured until the early 1990s, but now millions of tonnes are produced yearly to be used in a variety of consumer products. Because of their size, nanoparticles can enter cells and eventually kill them. Remarkably, we do not know how this happens and why some organisms are more susceptible than others. This project will examine the effects of nanoparticles on respiration. This project will be particularly suited to students who enjoy data analysis and using electronic equipment and are enthusiastic about biotechnology.
STARTING DATE: Normally, September.