Biomedical researchers at Leeds Beckett University have secured three new grants to allow them to carry out exciting new projects, including one that is aimed at helping control the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Dr Vincent Postis and Dr Carine De Marcos Lousa have been awarded £25,000 from the Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), through the CBMNet initiative. The grant will be used to develop yeasts that are capable of utilising distillery waste for biofuel production. This research will impact on the promotion of renewable bioenergy and sustainable agriculture and contribute to help solving the ecological problems caused by distillery waste.
In combination with Oppilotech, Dr John George has secured £100,000 from Innovate UK to support a postdoctoral research scientist who will be based at Leeds Beckett for an initial period of 18 months. The project will focus on the computational modelling of cell wall biogenesis in E. Coli. The main aim of the work is to examine and test the accuracy of the computer-designed cell wall model.
Oppilotech and Leeds Beckett have also committed to investing £60,000 to investigate the role of a fat molecule called undecaprenyl, which is an essential component of the bacterial cell wall. The coordinated work of the two projects will generate new insight into how bacteria coordinate the molecular components used to construct the cell wall, and will generate new knowledge to aid in the development of novel drug treatments, and strategies for bacterial infections.
Commenting on the funding success, Professor Gary Jones, Director of the Centre for Biomedical Science Research at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Being successful in winning this highly competitive external research funding demonstrates the scientific excellence underpinning each of these research projects.
“Microbiology is an area of research excellence within the Centre and these new awards will allow further growth in this important research theme.”
Dr Pauline Fitzgerald, Head of Subject in Biomedical Sciences at Leeds Beckett University, added: “Microbiology and Biochemistry are key teaching and research strengths within the Biomedical Sciences subject group. These new research projects will greatly add to the current portfolio of ongoing projects and will also feed into our research-led teaching activities.”