+44 (0)131 451 3186
Room F.11
John Muir Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities

Programme Director for BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Human Health)

External Examiner for UG & PG degrees in Health Sciences at the University of Abertay, Dundee (2008-).

PhD supervision
  • Stefano Vavassori, Eda Lady Jardine PhD studentship. Isolation of the PRS enzyme complex(es) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. (2001–2005)
  • Ke Wang, Heriot-Watt Partial PhD scholarship. The impact of altering the cellular PRPP content on the physiology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. (2001–2005)
  • Lei Zhang, Heriot-Watt PhD Scholarship. Influence of retinoic acid on the expression of mammalian fatty acid synthase. (2000–2005)
  • Aileen Marden, BBSRC Case PhD studentship. Monitoring microsatellite instability in eukaryotic cells. (2000–2004)
  • Abdel Bensmail, MPhil scholarship. Characterization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae PRS deletant strains with respect to mycophenolic acid resistance and cell integrity status. (2003–2004)

Prior to coming to Heriot-Watt I supervised 10 Diploma (MSc) students and 11 PhD students.

In accordance with the PhD regulations at German universities I have conducted 18 PhD Vivas. I have also acted as External Examiner for PhD students from the Universities of Bristol, Newcastle and Strathclyde since 2000. I was also External Examiner for the MSc/PG Diploma in Food Science & Microbiology and the MSc/Diploma in Food Biotechnology at the University of Strathclyde in 2005 and 2006.

Further information
Professional & learned societies
  • Member of The Biochemical Society
  • Member of the Genetics Society
  • Member of the Gesellschaft für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie (German Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology) (GBM)
Grants & awards  

2009-2012 CSO (New anti-infectives for the control of antibiotic resistant human pathogens (£356,053) (co-investigator)).

2010 Wellcome Trust vacation scholarship (Is NHR1-1 of S. cerevisiae PRS1 the link between PRPP synthetase and cell integrity signalling?) (£1,464).

2004-2010 EPSRC RCUK Academic Fellowship in Nutrition (£125,000).

2004-2007 BBSRC Link project with the University of Durham
(Ricinoleic acid biosynthesis in plants. £808,777).

2004 The Wellcome Trust/RSE workshop organized by M Schweizer & Steve Euston (Molecular, Clinical and Safety Aspects of Nutrition. £1400).

2003 SRIF3 (successful equipment bid for qPCR, rheometer, confocal microscopy, enzyme purification and flow cytometry. £350,000).

2000-2003 BBSRC Case PhD studentship with Gentronix Ltd. (holder: Aileen Marden),
(Monitoring microsatellite instability in eukaryotic cells. £44,873,34).

2001-2004 Eda Lady Jardine PhD Studentship (holder: Stefano Vavassori),
(Isolation of the PRS enzyme complex(es) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. £19,500).

2001 Wellcome Trust vacation scholarship (holder: Stewart Andrews),
(Influence of PRPP-synthesizing capacity on stress-induced beta-glucan synthase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. £1,000).

2001 Nuffield Foundation Vacation scholarship (holder: Laura Wardrope),
(Construction of TAP-tagged yeast strains to facilitate the isolation of enzyme complexes capable of synthesizing phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate (PRPP. £1,498).

1997-2000 Eurofan II: The relationship between structural and functional homology of yeast ORFs (subcontractor, £37,000).

1997-98 Cara Technology Ltd (Selection of sulphite-producing strains of brewer’s yeast. £7,500).

1996-1998 Eurofan I: Functional analysis of yeast genes discovered by systematic sequencing (subcontractor, £59,000).

1995-1998 BBSRC/IFR PhD studentship (holder: Ken Larkin),
(In vivo screening in yeast for the anticarcinogenic effects of food components. £22,000).

1995-96 British Council, Joint Research Visits Programme between INRA, Montpellier and IFR, Norwich (The genetics of flocculation in yeast), (£5,000).

1995-96 BBSRC Sandwich Studentship (holder: Melanie Cleaton-Roberts, Nottingham Trent University)
(Manipulation of metabolic pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. £20,000).

1995-96 BBSRC-ISIS (The genetics of flocculation in yeast) (£3,000).

1995-98 British Council /Spanish Government, postdoctoral fellowship (holder: Dr Yolanda Hernando),
(Improving vitamin production in baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. £92.000).

1994-1998 EU-HCM: Dissection and reassembly of the naturally occurring
multifunctional fatty acid synthases and polyketide synthases - a step towards their future exploitation for novel metabolite production (co-ordinator; 6 other team members), (£300,000).

1994-1998 EU-AIR: Manipulation of lipid metabolism aimed at production of fatty acids and polyketides for industrial use and for applications in functional foods (co-investigator, 5 other team members), (£232,000).

1994-96 EU Biotechnology fellowship (holder: Karim Roder),
(Exploitation of genetic selection in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to clone the transcription factor binding to the rat fatty acid synthase insulin-responsive element FIRE. £30,000).

1993 The Biochemical Society’s Guildford Bench Methodology Fund (holder: Karim Roder), (£900).

1992-1996 EU: Sequencing of the yeast genome. (£50,000).

1992-1998 BBSRC-CSG: Dietary and hormonal regulation of fatty acid synthase. (£135,000).

1992-1998 BBSRC-CSG: Engineering yeast metabolism for improved food manufacture. (£63,000).

1992 Wellcome Trust Vacation scholarship (holder: Karin England, School of Biological Sciences, UEA. £900).

1991-94 BBSRC-CSG; Metabolic engineering in yeast. (£20,000).

1987-1991 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: Differential pretranslational control of the two variants of the negative acute phase-protein alpha1-Inhibitor3 from Rattus norvegicus. 215,000 DM).

1987 Consumables budget from the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie.
(10,000 DM).

1986-1990 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: Hormonal regulation of the fatty acid synthase gene from Rattus norvegicus (240,000 DM).

1986-87 One-off Grant from the Bavarian Government (4,333 DM).

Editorial boards

Associate Editor of SGM Microbiology between 2001-2006.

Peer reviewing activities

J Food Science; Microbiology; FEMS Yeast Research; J Human Nutrition & Dietetics; Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, J Microbiology; Biochemical J; J Cellular Biochemistry; Marine Biotechnology; Lipid; Protein Science; European J Biochemistry; American J Physiology; Biochemical Biophysical Acta; FEBS Letters; Molecular General genetics & Genomics. 

Grant committees & advisory boards
  • Member of Peer Reviewers’ panel for SEERAD-ABRG Science & Research Group (since 2004) 
  • Member of The Biochemical Society’s Theme Panel ‘Genes’ (2002-2009) 
  • Reviewer at large for BBSRC responsive mode; BBSRC Link project; BBSRC Renewable Material Programme; The Wellcome Trust; Medical Research Council; Austrian Science Foundation; National Science Foundation (USA); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; National Research Council of Canada; Innovational Research Incentives Scheme; Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research; ANR - National Infrastructures in Biology and Health, France. 
  • BBSRC Pool of Experts (2001-2007).
Recent invited lectures

“Valproic acid and LiCl sensitivity in prs mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A Biochemical Society Focussed Meeting, Royal Holloway College, University of London (April 2009).

“The effect of Charcot-Marie Tooth disease or Arts syndrome mutations in S. cerevisiae PRS1 on cell integrity signalling. British Yeast Group Meeting 2010, Oxford (March 2010).