Nicholas Turner

Professor of Chemical Biology, Director of CoEBio3

Nicholas Turner

Training and working with people who you know are going to be the stars of the future in their respective fields is very enjoyable.


How would you summarise your research to undergraduates?

We take enzymes from nature and improve them so that they can be used as biocatalysts for chemical synthesis. By employing techniques such as directed evolution and protein engineering we are able to change properties such as the activity, stereoselectivity and stability of enzymes.

Synthetic biology is a powerful new approach for constructing designer enzymes and whole cells for the production of a broad range of chemicals including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, personal health-care products and biofuels.

What do you think makes the School distinctive?

The School provides excellent teaching and research opportunities across a very broad range of topics within Chemistry. The quality of staff, equipment and infrastructure provide excellent training for students.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

One to one interactions with students and the opportunity to open their eyes to the wonder of chemistry and its possible applications.

How do you make your teaching up-to-date, innovative and inspirational?

By incorporating the latest developments in the field so that students get a real sense that the subject is dynamic and having a big impact on the day-to-day lives of everyone.

What do you enjoy most about research?

Training and working with people who you know are going to be the stars of the future in their respective fields.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Publishing papers and patents that have led to real applications including spin-out companies and also new technology that is currently being exploited to manufacture important drugs (e.g. telaprevir) more cheaply for patients in undeveloped countries.

How long have you been at the School?

I joined the School in 2004 and currently work in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB). The MIB is highly interdisciplinary which is perfect for our research.

When a student completes their course, what for you are the measures of success?

That they feel motivated and enthused to continue to study and practice the subject wherever they choose to work.

How do you think students remember you?

Passionate about research and teaching with an interest in individuals whatever their background and future ambitions.

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