Job Title: Professor of Molecular Membrane Biology (University of Oxford)
Expertise: Biochemistry, Structural Biology
Research Focus: Protein nutrient transporters
How did you come to research body odour?
Our bodies absorb essential nutrients such as protein, fats and vitamins from our diet and transport these molecules into our blood to maintain health and wellbeing. The main site of food absorption is our intestinal tract, which contains specialised proteins, called transporters, whose job is to specifically recognise different nutrients and transport them into our body. My research focuses on understanding how these nutrient transporters work, as the same systems are also involved in tablet-based drug absorption.
I joined the BO and Beyond project following a conversation with Gavin Thomas and Gordon James at a BBSRC sponsored meeting in Sheffield, where we realised that a similar transporter responsible for nutrient absorption in our bodies was also present in the bacteria on our skin responsible for BO production! Initially with Dr Gurdeep Minhas, a researcher in my group, we solved the structure of the BO transporter and working with Michelle Rudden in Gavin’s group in York, determined the blueprint for how this system works.
Now, in collaboration with Gordon James in Unilever and funded through a BBSRC LINK award, Dr Julia Humes is working to develop inhibitors that stop this transporter from working, and hopefully develop a new tool in the fight against BO!