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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

William James Anderson IfLS PhD: A microfluidic droplet sorter based on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, 2017/18

Postgraduate research student

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Hi, I'm William James Anderson and I studied IfLS PhD: A microfluidic droplet sorter based on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy within Institute for Life Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Interdisciplinary research is a great way to find alternative solutions to problems that might not be solvable by an individual department; it is the way forward.

I graduated from the University of Southampton with an M.Sci in biomedical science, with a specific focus on biochemistry. During my studies, I undertook three projects, the first of which was a bioinformatics project with Dr Rich Edwards. The main focus was to benchmark several intrinsically unstructured protein predictors with the aim of enabling better short-linear motif discovery. After this, I carried out a short project with Dr Mark Coldwell that looked at the probability of proteins being relocated to the mitochondria when alternative initiation codons are used in the mRNA of normally ER targeted proteins. During this project, I developed FASTAbuilder, an AutoHotKey macro that runs alongside ExTATIC (an alternative initiation codon predictor), collecting sequence data and running it through several sub-cellular localisation predictors.

The main project that I carried out during my M.Sci was in structural biology/crystallography and looked at the effects of radiation damage on Pdx1 crystals when undergoing X-ray exposure. It was during this project that I realised I not only had a keen interest in biology but also in the way that the apparatus and technologies we used work.

I have now started a jointly funded Chemistry/IfLS PhD project with my supervisors, Dr Martin Fischlechner and Dr Summet Mahajan. I am aiming to develop an ‘evolution machine’ (a microfluidic sorter that is based on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy) that would enable the directed evolution of bacterial strains for increased secretion of compounds in high-throughput.

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