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 the differences of 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 learn about the mechanistics of dealing with oxygen attack, whist still having a functional enzyme.

ThomasEsterle Thomas Esterle

I completed my PhD in electrochemistry at the University of Southampton on the templated electrodeposition of mesoporous materials. My research involved the electrodeposition of metals and alloys for supercapacitors and batteries but also to investigate specific active sites exemplified by voltammetry. In Fraser's group, my project focused on the understanding of electrocatalytic voltammetry through examples using the technique of protein film electrochemistry. Another focus of my research is on the miniaturisation of biofuel cells.

bonniemurphy Bonnie Murphy

Bonnie Murphy hails from the Canadian prairies. She received her B. Sc. (Biology and Chemistry) from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and her D.Phil. (Inorganic Chemistry) in the Armstrong group at Oxford. She is working on a number of projects with the aim of better understanding the factors determining hydrogenase electrocatalytic properties, as well as working to develop new molecular tools for the study of metalloenzymes. In her free time, she mostly enjoys cycling around the Oxfordshire countryside (when it's sunny) and cooking (when it rains).

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
Vincent Wang Vincent Wang

I am a fourth year DPhil student in the Armstrong Group. Before coming to Oxford, I got my BS and MS degree in Chemistry respectively from National Taiwan University. After that, I was a research assistant under supervison of Prof. Sunney Chan (he was also my supervisor during my masters degree) at Academia Sinica where I used several bioinorganic spectroscopy methods and molecular biology to study metalloproteins such as pMMO (particulate methane monooxygenase) and hemerythrin.

Now, I am studying carbon monoxide dehydrogenase via PFV and trying to combine nanoparticles with enzymes to catalyze some important reactions such as the water-gas shift reaction. Outside the lab, I like to ride a bike and listen to OST (original soundtracks). I hope that I have a chance to explore whole UK by bike before my graduation.

suzannah Suzannah Hexter

After completing my Part II in the group as an undergraduate at St. Peter’s I am now a fourth year DPhil at St. John’s. My project involves using electrochemistry to probe the effects of small ligands on the catalytic activity of hydrogenases, mostly concentrating on the [NiFe]-hydrogenases, Hyd-1 and Hyd-2 from E. coli. Although electrochemistry is very useful for studying the catalytic activity of enzymes, it gives no structural insight into their various states and I am learning new techniques, such as Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to further my work.

Outside of the lab I try to make the most of still being a student in Oxford and concentrate on doing all the things I wish I had done during my undergrad!

philip Philip Wulff

I’m a fourth year DPhil student at St. John’s College. I received my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biotechnology from the RWTH in Aachen, city of engineers and long-dead emperors. My work is based around the question of how special biological hydrogen catalysts react with oxygen while maintaining hydrogen cycling activity. Understanding and eventually reproducing this ability is essential for the development of versatile and robust synthetic catalysts from abundant materials. Outside lab I play Badminton, read, enjoy cycling around Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds (but not in winter - that’s ghastly) and whatever else presents itself.

lang Lang Xu

I am a thid year graduate student from St John’s College. Before I joined the Armstrong Group, I read chemistry at Nanjing University and Brown University. My current research project is to construct high power-density and mediatorless enzyme-based biofuel cells. In my spare time I like to read a lot of books, as the Chinese saying goes, ’Read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles‘.

andreas Andreas Bachmeier

I’m a third year DPhil student from St. John’s College. Prior to starting at Oxford, I received a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Erlangen, Germany, and conducted my Masters thesis on artificial photosynthesis in the laboratory of Heinz Frei in Berkeley. After graduation, I spent just over a year working for a large chemical corporation, initially carrying out a research project on heterogeneous catalysis in Novara, Italy. Later on, I worked in the business development function, mainly covering battery materials for electric vehicles and energy storage systems. In the Armstrong laboratory, I am currently studying the mechanisms of charge transport in artificial photosynthetic systems comprising enzymatic fuel-producing catalysts. Using electrochemistry, I am also exploring the interaction of reversible electrocatalysts with semiconducting light-absorbers. In a third, mechanistic project, I am investigating the inhibition of [FeFe]-hydrogenases by aldehydes.

lang Yiduo Wang

I am a second year DPhil student attached to St. Cross College. I am currently researching enzymatic fuel cells with Lang. Before coming to Oxford, I received my bachelor’s degree at Shandong University, China.

I like swimming, hiking and traveling in my spare time. I miss Chinese food a lot here in Oxford.

lang Shams Afroza Islam (Tania)

My name is Tania. 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. Last year I joined Fraser’s group as a Doctoral student and have been assigned to the CO-dehydrogenase project.

When not in the lab, my time is taken up by my two children, one aged 3+ and the other 2-, and matters related to them. I enjoy my spare time with my husband, usually chatting or watching TV, or on the more active side, by going on walks or shopping!

lang Bhavin Siritanaratkul

I’m a second 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.

In my free time, I like to read (scifi, fantasy) and play all kinds of games (card, board, PC, console). I also enjoy basketball and table tennis.

Part II Students
Luke Luke Shoham

I’m a Part II student from the frozen tundra of St. Hugh’s, and am investigating the activity of hydrogenases under unusual conditions.

I spend the vast majority of my free time playing, listening to, and talking about jazz, and trying, so far in vain, to grow a moustache.

Sam Sam Hall

Hi, I’m a Part II conducting research into artificial photosynthesis, specifically the interaction of n-type and p-type semiconductors with various CODH and Hydrogenase enzymes, which could be used in a self-contained model system to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

When I’m not in the lab, I get involved in Oxford drama and music, enjoy long walks on the beach and shout incoherently at seagulls.

Sara Sara Wehlin

I am a Part II student at Merton and I am currently working on mutant hydrogenases. After confirming the mutations I will characterise the enzyme electrochemically and by comparing the behavior with that of the wild type enzyme we can hopefully learn more about the specific mechanism of the enzyme.

Outside of the lab I enjoy eating many different herrings, making meatballs, singing along with all the hits of ABBA, hunting moose and assembling flat pack furniture.