A University of St Andrews biological chemist has been awarded funding of over £1.5 million from the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) to continue his work in the investigation of disease-causing organisms.
James Naismith, Professor of Chemical Biology at the University’s £9m Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, has been awarded two separate awards of £1.4m and £200,000 respectively.
Professor Naismith’s lab aims to bring a detailed chemical understanding to important biological problems.
The first £1.4m is a five year package of funding for the UK organisation CCP4, of which Professor Naismith is Chair. This organisation writes the software that underlies the activities almost all UK Structural Biology. Structural Biology is extremely important technique in developing new drugs and new biology.
The funding will allow further software development around the UK, which Professor Naismith will oversee.
The £200,000 funding package is for a three year project to study a protein isolated from a fatal bacterial infection. The project is a collaboration with Professor Ian Booth of the University of Aberdeen’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.
Professor Naismith said: “The protein is an integral membrane protein. During the course of the bacterial infection the protein changed and allowed the bacteria to become resistant. The grant will allow us to continue to study this process.”
Professor Naismith is a Wellcome Trust Programme Grant holder, holds a BBSRC Fellowship, and specialises in the synthesis of carbohydrates (sugars) bacteria. His previous Wellcome Trust work in disease-causing organisms, such as E-coli, Salmonella and TB has identified a new potential treatment for these diseases. He holds a Leverhulme Trust prize in Molecular Biology.
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