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Current placement students

Study of macromolecular systems using the wide range of technology platforms available in the Partnership for Structural Biology, including neutron and X-ray diffraction.

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I am an undergraduate Natural Scientist from University of Bath where I study both biochemistry and chemistry as part of my degree. My placement project, held jointly between ILL and ESRF, and in collaboration with Wits University in South Africa, concerns the production and biophysical characterisation of the Plasmodium falciparum myb2 protein (pfmyb2), a malarial protein which is a putative transcription factor. The goal of my project is to optimise protein production and purification conditions with a view to crystallise my protein. Key techniques to be applied are small angle neutron and X-ray scattering (SANS and SAXS) and possibly crystallography. During my time here, I have already had the opportunity to carry out SAXS and mass spec analysis.After completing my 2nd undergraduate year, I am spending a placement year working jointly between the ILL and ESRF on structural studies of HIV integrase, the enzyme responsible for incorporating viral DNA in to the body's healthy cells. I was looking at a strain particularly relevant in South Africa, accounting for nearly 50% of all HIV infections. During my placement, I will be producing, purifying and characterizing the HIV integrase protein. The main aim will be to produce crystals of high enough quality in order to carry out X-ray crystallography. I have also had the opportunity to take part in a SAXS experiment, which has enabled me to learn more about this particular characterisation technique. I have learned so much so far on all the different techniques used to produce, purify and characterize techniques and I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge as the year goes on.


Abigail Rayment


Danielle Stephens