|The University of St Andrews|
In the Summer of 2000 I landed myself an Internship with the Department of Chemistry in St Andrews working with Dr Joe Crayston on dye compounds for solar cells. However, for the majority of my research career in St Andrews, I worked in the Woollins Group.
I started with a four week research internship in July 2000 and have never looked back. My first four weeks were spent working on novel M-Se-P-N-N heterocycles with Dr Matthew Clarke. This provided me with valuable experience in research laboratory techniques, and also gave me the first paper with my name on1. I enjoyed myself so much that when I was offered the opportunity to work in the group during term, I leapt at the chance, and carried on working in the Woollins Group for a little over a year.
I started to draw away from synthetic work towards the end of that time. A twelve week research project on The Comparison of Tolamn Cone Angles with those determined from PC Spartan Pro and the Cambridge Chemical Database Service and The Synthesis of Bis(phosphino) Ferrocene and Phosphino Quinoline Schiff Base Ligands helped convince me that perhaps synthetic research was not truly where I wanted to end up. The work on the Tolman cone angles also ended up in a paper by Matthew Clarke2. If you would like to know more on this subject, click on the picture above.
When I had to decide who my supervisor would be for my Senior Honours Project I chose Dr Mackrodt and a purely theoretical project. This ten week project was on Exchange Bias, Fact or Fiction: A Theoretical Study of Iron on a Nickel Oxide  Surface. The project involved Quantum Mechanical techniques and this is not something that was taught much at undergraduate level, however it is an incredibly fascinating subject. For some more information on quantum mechanics and this research project click on the picture opposite.
When I graduated from St Andrews, I came down to Cambridge to work with the Mitchell Research group on the classification of enzyme mechanisms. This project became known as MACiE and it is something that I continue to work on at the European Bioinformatics Institute.
MACiE, which stands for Mechanism, Annotation and Classification in Enzymes, is a collaborative project between the Mitchell Group at the Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics part of the University of Cambridge and the Thornton Group at the European Bioinformatics Institute.
Enzyme-catalysed reactions are ubiquitous and essential to the chemistry of life. Whilst a great deal of knowledge, including structures, gene sequences, mechanisms, metabolic pathways and kinetic data exists, it is spread between many different databases and throughout the literature. MACiE is a database of enzyme reaction mechanisms curated from the primary literature, and is intended as a central resource for chemical mechanisms of enzymatic reactions.