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Physics and Astronomy

Photo of Mr Matthew Houghton

Mr Matthew Houghton

PhD Physics Student


Current Research

Thesis Title: Optoplasmonic Sensing of Enzyme Mechanisms

Supervisor(s): Frank Vollmer (Exeter), Stefan Bagby (Bath)

We hope to begin studying the dynamics of Adenosine Kinase (Adk) and a-Synuclein by method of Whispering Gallery Mode (WGM) optoplasmonics. My first year was spent at the University of Bath undertaking optimisation of protein purification of several variants of Adk and a-Synuclein, followed by charecterisation of these proteins by several methods- include kinetic studies, circular dichroism and dynamic light scattering. The next investigations to be carried out were to evaluate methods of protein binding to gold nanoparticles, required for plasmonically-enhanced WGM. Several methods of binding were found for Adk.

Now based in Exeter, the first detection of Adk turnover has been attempted. We are currently evaluating these signals in order to identify the profiles of turnover events. Other investigations will focus on inhibitor binding behaviour, as well as other investigations into improving the laser setup.

This PhD project is part of the Vollmer Laboratory of Nano and Quantum Biosensing and the Molecular Mechanics Initative

Funding Acknowledgements

Research is funded as part of the SWBio Doctoral Training Program with UKRI BBSRC funding. 

Academic Qualifications

2017-2020 BSc Biochemistry at the University of Bath: First Class (Hons.)

Undergraduate Project: Optimising the Expression of a Surface Binding Hydrophobin for Autoimmune Biosensors (Supervised by Stefan Bagby, PhD; and Mohsina Bashir).

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