ESR5 – Alessia Tonoli
ESR5 is set to use sequence-based metagenome mining to identify “split” transketolases from mesophile and thermophile genomes. Once this task is completed, the researcher will clone and/or express several of these enzymes and characterise them for substrate specificity, substrate tolerance and stability. Finally, the project includes the determination of the structure of the best performing enzymes through X-ray crystallography.
I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology at the University of Brescia and my Master’s degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Padova, Italy. After my studies, I had the chance to spend five months at the Biocatalysis group of the University of Graz, Austria, thanks to the Erasmus+ traineeship programme. I am now working at University College London, looking for split-transketolases in mesophile and thermophile organisms. My inclination towards biotechnologies developed during high school, but synthetic biology and biocatalysis caught my attention and curiosity during my master’s studies. That’s when I decided to pursue this path, that also allows me to actively contribute to a more sustainable future. When not in the lab, I love listening to music (even better if live concerts!) and taking photographs, and I’m always down for a good film in good company. I also enjoy playing volleyball. I am just really glad and grateful for being part of the extraordinary CC-TOP group and project!
Project title: Metagenomics to discover new 'split' transketolases
Host institution: University College London
Secondments: TU Darmstadt, Université Clermont-Auvergne and Johnson Matthey
Supervisor: Jack Jeffries