Oxford University Crest

The Armstrong Research Group
Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory

Third floor ICL, rooms: T7–T12, T17
Phone: T12 (Fraser’s office): +44 (0)1865 272647
e-mail: fraser.armstrong@chem.ox.ac.uk

Fraser Armstrong
Fraser Armstrong

Fraser Armstrong is Professor of Chemistry and a Fellow of St John’s College. His interests are in biological chemistry, bioenergetics and in the mechanisms and exploitation of enzymes related to energy production. He has received a number of awards including the European Award for Biological Inorganic Chemistry, the Carbon Trust Innovation Award, the Max Planck Award for Frontiers in Biological Chemistry and the Royal Society of Chemistry Award for Interdisciplinary Chemistry. He travels widely giving invited lectures on topics including catalysis, bioenergetics and renewable energy. He is co-editor of Energy … beyond oil which focuses on alternative energy-generating technologies.

Outside of the office, Fraser can be found with his group at the Lamb & Flag Thursday nights in term time.

Fraser has been elected Fellow of the Royal Society.

Post-Doctoral Researchers
rhiannon Rhiannon Evans

I completed my PhD in Chemistry at Cardiff University in 2010 investigating various aspects of dihydrofolate reductase catalysis. My interests involve relating enzyme structure and function, with a particular focus on how we can explore and exploit differences in environmental optima. Since joining forces with Fraser, my work has mainly focused on oxygen tolerant and oxygen sensitive hydrogenases and how we can take advantage of conserved differences in their amino acid compositions. The ultimate aim is to use site directed mutagenesis to study the mechanism of hydrogen activation in [NiFe]-hydrogenases, and also of dealing with oxygen attack. I study the variant hydrogenases using techniques such as protein film electrochemistry and EPR. I am a Junior Research Fellow of Wolfson College here in Oxford.

Outside of the lab I enjoy running and catching up on series that I spend the rest of the time trying to avoid spoilers from.

ClareMegarity Clare Megarity

I completed my PhD at Queen’s University Belfast in 2014. My research focused on the structure and function of oxidoreductase enzymes, in particular, using site-directed mutagenesis to elucidate the mechanism of negative cooperativity induced by specific inhibitors. My thesis presented evidence to support the presence of a pathway linking the two active sites in these dimeric enzymes through which negative cooperativity propagates.

I joined the Armstrong group in July 2015. My research here involves the physical characterization of redox enzymes produced in recombinant strains of the photosynthetic organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Since starting, my work has focused on the kinetics of activation of an apo-hydrogenase enzyme upon binding an inorganic [2Fe] active site mimic. I have been using protein film electrochemistry to measure the rates of both H2 oxidation and H+ reduction, catalysed by the activated hydrogenase. The project is collaborative with the groups of Thomas Happe (Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany) and Gilles Peltier (CEA Cadarache, France). The ultimate aim is to produce fuels and interesting chemicals from sunlight.

Outside of the lab I enjoy art, reading, pondering the idea of getting back into running and actively not joining Facebook.

Kourosh Kourosh H. Ebrahimi

I am interested in understanding the fundamentals underlying the enzymatic reactions performed by metalloenzymes such as hydrogenases, radical-SAM enzymes, and ferritin.

Outside lab I enjoy paining with oil on canvas and having a quiet time at home.

Liyun Liyun Zhang

I studied chemistry in university of science and technology of China and received my PhD degree in 2009. My research interests include (i) Metalloenzyme and its application in renewable energy generation; (ii) Development of fluorescent probes to detect fundamental DNA and protein. In Fraser’s group, I am a Newton international fellow and try to understand the operation and optimization of light-driven enzyme-catalysed solar fuel production by introducing new chemical/bioanalytical agents into key components.

In my spare time, I like reading, travel and playing with my son.

kavita Stephen Carr

I am an experienced protein crystallographer who uses structural biology and various complimentary biophysical techniques to address fundamental questions regarding enzyme catalysis. I am particularly interested in metalloproteins involved in energy metabolism including hydrogenases as well as other bacterial enzymes with potential biotechnological applications.

Lab Technician
elena Elena Nomerotskaia

I am the group’s lab technician, and my work mainly involves large-scale purification of enzymes for use in electrochemical and EPR experiments. I am also responsible for ensuring the lab is kept clean, tidy and well stocked!

Doctoral Students
Tania Shams Afroza Islam (Tania)

I am in the final year of my DPhil studies here at Oxford and attached with St. John’s College. I completed my B.Sc. and M.S. in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Technology from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, with top positions in both before joining as a faculty member of that department. As Assistant Professor, my job was to conduct classes, both theoretical and practical. In Fraser’s lab, I am investigating various highly efficient FeS-cluster containing redox enzymes (hydrogenases from various organisms, CODH and reductive dehalogenase) with Site-Directed Mutagenesis, Protein Film Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy techniques.

When not in the lab, my time is taken up with caring for my two children, aged 7 and 5, and matters related to them. My spare time after that (if any) is spent with my husband, usually chatting or watching TV. Besides trying to tie up the loose ends in my investigations with the enzymes, I plan on getting to watch (good) movies as soon as they are released in the theatres and eating out more often. Fingers crossed!

bhavin Bhavin Siritanaratkul

I’m a fourth year DPhil student from Thailand. Before coming here, I studied in Japan for 7 years and received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tokyo. Previously I did some research on photocatalytic water splitting by using semiconductor powders, and I hope to combine that knowledge with the use of enzymes to construct systems for CO2 reduction under visible light. I am also investigating light-driven enzymatic systems for other reactions, such as reductive dehalogenation.

In my free time, I like to read science fiction and fantasy. I also write science fiction short stories, with the dream of getting published in Nature’s Futures section.

Google Scholar page

Emily Emily Brooke

I am a second year DPhil student with St. John’s college. Before joining Fraser’s group, I received my MChem from the University of York. My current work is focused on the role of conserved amino acid residues that neighbour the active site of the [NiFe]-hydrogenases. To do so, I am using site-directed mutagenesis of the oxygen-tolerant hydrogenase enzyme Hyd-1, from E. coli, and using techniques such as Protein Film Electrochemistry, X-ray Crystallography and EPR spectroscopy.

My greatest passions in life, outside the lab of course, are drinking tea, eating Yorkshire Puddings and indulging in hours of reading, knitting & crochet and my bunny rabbits. To work off all those Yorkshire puddings, I occasionally go for a run or a long walk!

f35 Stephen Beaton

I am a first-year MSc student at Exeter College. I received my undergraduate from a small technical college in the United States. My current work is focused on understanding the mechanism of hydrogen reduction in Hyd-2 of E. coli. This work includes analyzing the effect of site-directed mutagenesis on Hyd-2 from E. coli with a variety of techniques.

In my free time, I enjoy going to events at the Oxford Union and the Oxford University Strategic Studies group, as well as traveling, running, and pretending that I am an F-35 practicing short-takeoffs from aircraft carriers.

kavita Giorgio Morello

I’m a first year DPhil student from Wadham College. I got my master degree in Industrial Biotechnology at the university of Milan - Bicocca and before coming here I spent one year in Uppsala University to study hydrogen production from green algae. In Fraser’s group my project involves the development of a light driven NADPH regeneration system.

In my spare time I enjoy swimming and playing guitar.

kavita Lei Wan

I am a first-year DPhil student at St John’s College. Before I went to Oxford, I got my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Central South University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, respectively. My former research directions involved nanomaterials’ synthesis and physical and electrochemical properties. I am really interested in future energy technologies. In Fraser’s group, I will do projects regarding biofuel cells and catalysis.

In my spare time, I like reading, pondering, travelling and going for a walk.

Part II Students
kavita Rosalind Booth

I’m a Part II student at St Catherine’s College. For my project, I am using Protein Film Electrochemistry to study the effect of selective mutation of [FeFe] hydrogenases on their properties including oxygen sensitivity and rate of activation of the apo enzyme with [2Fe] mimic.

Outside the lab I enjoy cooking and rowing in my college team.

kavita Josceline Dunne

I’m a Part II Student from St Edmund Hall. For my project I'm working on altering the FNR enzyme to decrease its selectivity for NADP over NAD. In order to do this, I’ll be carrying out site directed mutagenesis of the wild-type enzyme to alter residues within and nearby the active site.

Outside of the lab, I enjoy singing in several choirs and baking!

kavita Nicholas Kossoff

Hi! I’m Nicky, a part II student from University College. My project is focused on investigating the binding of enzyme FNR onto metal oxide electrodes.

Outside of lab hours I enjoy exploring Oxford, going for long walks and the occasional pub trip.

Edward Edward Mallett

Hi! I’m Ed, a part II student from Worcester. My research concerns the transportation of protons away from the active site in a Hyd-1 enzyme from E. Coli. I will be studying this through the latest electrochemical methods.

Away from chemistry my main interests lie on the sports field and when I can’t be found playing on the football pitch, I’ll almost certainly be running around it. I also "enjoy" watching my beloved York City FC as they continue their current fall from grace.