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Leanne Sims

Senior Research Assistant

Leanne is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV) at UEA. She started in the Murrell group as a PhD student as part of the Norwich Research Park Doctoral Training Partnership, purifying and characterising a soluble diiron monooxygenase (SDIMO) involved in microbial degradation of the climate-active gas isoprene. Upon completion, she continued to work in the group to complete the project on isoprene monooxygenase, and to characterise the four enzymes believed to come next in the metabolic pathway. 


​Project Description:  Isoprene is a highly abundant volatile compound with important climatic effects. Isoprene is emitted in similar quantities to methane (approximately 600 million tonnes per year), however it is markedly less studied. The first step in isoprene degradation is believed to be catalysed by a soluble diiron monooxygenase (SDIMO) called isoprene monooxygenase. SDIMOs are a group on enzymes including the extensively characterised soluble methane monooxygenase (sMMO), and many of them are of interest in bioremediation and biotechnology because of their classically diverse substrate ranges. 


​The aim of the project is to characterise the enzymes involved in isoprene metabolism from Rhodococcus sp. AD45 and Variovorax sp. WS11, through assays developed on whole cell, cell lysate and purified protein systems. 


​Techniques used:​ PCR, Cloning, Gas Chromatography, Protein Purification, Mass Spectrometry, Assay development, Enzyme kinetics, Microbial growth in fermenters, and on trace gases 


Funding: European Research Council Advanced Grant awarded to Prof Colin Murrell

Leanne Sims photo 2022.jpg

Contact Details

School of Environmental Sciences,
University of East Anglia,
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK


+44 (0)1603 592239

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