John Ward's Group
MSci in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry from the University of Nottingham (2010)
My interest in the fields of biochemistry and organic biological chemistry goes back a long way. For my first degree I chose a course that combined the two fields, equipping me for my current research which is concerned with the use of transaminase enzymes for the synthesis of pharmaceutical intermediates. This is a BBSRC funded CASE studentship in collaboration with Chirotech Technology Ltd (UK).
Transaminases are a class of metabolic enzymes that convert ketones and aldehydes to amines. Chiral amines are highly sought after since 70% of all pharmaceuticals are derivatives of these amines. In this work I aim to clone, over-express and characterise novel transaminase enzymes for use in biotransformation reactions. Matching of the current library of enzymes with their preferred substrate and co-substrate combinations is also paramount in my work. The overall aim of the project is to produce an enzyme kit containing transaminase enzymes with specificity and high stereoselectivity for compounds with a wide range of different side groups .