Adam Lightfoot - Structural Biology

I was an undergraduate at Leicester studying Biochemistry with a year abroad at California State University Long Beach before going on to do my Masters also at Leicester. I am currently in my third year of my PhD through the MIBTP scheme. I chose Leicester after attending an open day, I was attracted by the friendliness of the people here as well as being impressed by the university and its facilities. As a whole I like Leicester as it seems relatively small compared to other cities and Universities but is a friendly place to live and work.

I chose my PhD project through the MIBTP. I did my undergraduate project in the lab of Dr Cyril Dominguez and having really enjoyed the work and the atmosphere there, I decided to do both my masters and PhD project in the same lab.  My PhD project involves examining the post translational modifications to the Sam68 protein with a specific focus on serine/threonine phosphorylation. In order to identify these modifications we will primarily use NMR and mass spectrometry. Upon identifying these modifications we aim to study the effects of the modifications in terms of RNA binding using techniques such as fluorescence polarisation and effects on RNA binding using mini gene assays.

The MIBTP programme requires that we have a training year in which for 3 months we gain experience in a different field of science. During my PhD I travelled to South Africa and Japan. I applied to work in South Africa, volunteering with great white sharks, assisting people diving with sharks and educate people about sharks and the ocean as a whole. As well as this, we worked with a local charity aiding with the conservation work with smaller reef sharks and helped run a swap shop in one of the local townships where children could exchange recyclable items for school supplies. In October I travelled to Japan for 3 months through a collaboration between the University of Leicester and Tokyo Metropolitan University to study in-cell NMR with the hope of starting it up in Leicester.

The institute (LISCB) and department are great working environments with a good working atmosphere and friendly environment. I find people are very approachable and help with anything is there when you need it. Being able to collaborate with other groups within and outside the university is also very beneficial.

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