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- Student Stories
Professor Andre Furger
I am the Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry and the director of studies for Biochemistry in Pembroke.
I run a research group in the Department of Biochemistry. My research addresses several aspects of the regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes. We aim to understand how the expression (activation) of genes is regulated at the level of pre-mRNA processing. Pre-mRNA processing summarises a cascade of biochemical reactions that are required when genes are activated. We are using both whole genome based approaches and classic molecular biology techniques to understand how a particular pre-mRNA processing reaction that is essential to convert the primary transcripts (pre-mRNA) into mature messenger RNAs is regulated and how this regulation contributes to the establishment of the specific gene expression profiles that are characteristic for a specific cell state or cell type.
If you want to know more details about my research click here.
In a typical year I teach the Biochemistry students in all years. In the first year I give weekly tutorials in the subject of Molecular and Cellular Biology where I teach aspects of metabolism, cell biology and molecular genetics. For the second, third and fourth years I teach in the subject of Genetics and Molecular Biology.
I teach the third year Biochemists in Genetics and Molecular Biology. I run a lecture series: “RNA Biology and translation”. I run a practical on “regulation of gene expression” and I also hold lectures for the first year medical students: “An introduction to molecular Genetics”.
Dr Kirsty McHugh
I teach Immunology (Paper IV) and Data Handling (Paper VI) to Pembroke Biochemistry students, and also an introductory biochemistry course to visiting students that encompasses some core metabolism and molecular genetics topics.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, before working in the Callaghan Cancer Research group at the John Radcliffe Hospital investigating the structural properties of the P-glycoprotein multi-drug transporter. I then completed my DPhil studies at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in the Arthritis Research group headed by Paul Bowness, investigating the link between HLA-B27 and Spondyloarthritis, and continued this project as a postdoctoral scientist at the Botnar Research Centre. The primary focus of this research was to characterise the expression of potentially pathogenic non-conventional forms of B27 in the context of a disease setting using novel B27-specific monoclonal antibodies. I am now based at the Jenner Institute, working on the development of novel therapeutic interventions for the treatment of haematological disorders – non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT) and anaemia of inflammation.
Dr Holger Kramer
At Pembroke I teach Organic Chemistry to first year students and ‘Metal ions in biology’ to second year biochemists. I am also involved in postgraduate teaching within the Doctoral Training Centre (Introduction to Organic Chemistry) and the OXION Ion Channels initiative (Introduction to Proteomics).
I studied Chemistry in Marburg, Germany and at the University of Birmingham graduating with a MSci degree in 2002. This was followed by doctoral studies in Oxford at the Department of Organic Chemistry working on the synthesis of glycoprotein mimics as biological probes. My postdoctoral research with Dr Benedikt Kessler at the Nuffield Department of Medicine introduced me to the use of mass spectrometry and proteomics in the investigation of infectious diseases and post-translational protein modifications. In 2010 I moved to the department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics in order to take up the management and running of the OXION Proteomics facility.
My research interests focus on the application of proteomics, chemical biology and mass spectrometry to the investigation of cellular physiology. In particular my focus is on protein ubiquitination and other regulatory post-translational modifications. This includes detailed characterisation of the enzymes responsible for the attachment of these modifiers to protein surfaces and their subsequent removal. I also have an active interest in the development of novel proteomics methods and mass spectrometry-based assays.
Dr Anna Duncan
My research uses computational methods to study the dynamics and organisation of cell membranes. Cell membranes are crowded with many different membrane proteins and lipid species. In an effort to understand the effect of this complexity, I use simulations to study the interaction between specific lipid species and membrane proteins, and the association of membrane proteins with one another. Computer simulations allow movement of proteins and lipids to be studies at molecular-level detail, which will ultimately have an impact on our ability to target drugs to mammalian cells and anti-bacterial drugs to bacteria.
As the BTP Research Fellow, I teach Structural Biology, Biophysical Methods and Bioenergetics to Biochemistry undergraduate students (Paper 1 and Paper 2).
I have been a tutor on the Mathematics for Biochemists course for first year Biochemistry undergraduates. I have taught graduate practical classes on computational methods for Biochemistry, and computer coding using Python. I have also been involved in the UNIQ summer school, as a tutor.
The College admits four undergraduates to read Biochemistry each year. The Pembroke tutors also welcome applications from candidates with a deferred entry date...