My research focuses on the structure and function of the archaeal AMO by investigating its interaction with both reversible and irreversible inhibitors in pure culture. Additionally, I am exploring the inhibition and subsequent co-oxidation of alternative substrates by the archaeal AMO. Archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidisers (AOA and AOB) initiate nitrification by oxidising ammonia to hydroxylamine, a reaction catalysed by ammonia monooxygenase (AMO). AMO enzyme is difficult to purify in active form and its structure and biochemistry remain largely unexplored in archaea. The bacterial AMO and the closely related particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO) have a broad range of hydrocarbon co-oxidation substrates.
Environmental drivers, including ammonium concentration, pH and O2 availability, influence the ecology of AOA and AOB communities and their relative contribution to nitrification. I am also interested in understanding of the underpinning physiology and biochemistry that enables ammonia oxidisers to adapt to their ecological niches.
Before beginning my PhD in the Lehtovirta-Morley Lab in 2017, I completed my BSc at the University of East Anglia (2014 – 2017).