Dr. Tobias von der Haar

​I joined the school of Biosciences in 2005. My lab studies the mechanism of mRNA translation, and how this is used as a control point for regulating gene expression. One of our main aims is to go away from the classical depiction of translation as a process that happens when one ribosome meets an mRNA, and instead to study it as a process resulting from 200,000 ribosomes acting on 30-60,000 mRNAs, as is the case in a typical baker’s yeast cell. We use wet lab experiments, data mining and computer models to study how the complex decoding system squares the opposing demands of efficiency and accuracy.

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Research Career

2016-present                     Reader in Systems Biology, University of Kent

2012-2016                          Senior Lecturer in Systems Biology, University of Kent

2009-2012                          Lecturer in Systems Biology, University of Kent

2005-2009                          Wellcome Trust RCD Fellow, University of Kent

2004-2005                          Postdoctoral worker, University of Kent

1998-2004                          Postdoctoral Worker, UMIST, Manchester

 

Contact: T.von-der-Haar@kent.ac.uk

 

Lab members

Dr Fabio de Lima Hedayioglu - Post Doc

Research Project

The speed of decoding of genetic information by ribosomes is an important parameter for the control of gene expression levels. My research project studies decoding speed using computational models of ribosome movement, which are based on biochemical information from the literature. I have written a number of software tools for simulating ribosome movement, and am currently applying these to study partiular examples of translational with our experimental collaborators.

 

Sam Hobbs - PhD student

Research Project

Understanding limits on recombinant protein production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

S. cerevisiae is a commonly used tool for recombinant protein production in industrial applications, with current high volume products incuding Insulin, Hepatitis C and Ppillomavirus vaccines, and blood factors. Despite its widespread use, different yeast strains perform with very different efficiency as recombinant protein secreters, and these differenes are incompletely understood. In my research project I look at molecular parameters that determine productivity in yeast.


 

Lukas Rettenbacher - PhD student

Research Project

Disulfide bond formation in recombinant protein expression systems

Most recombinant proteins that are used as drugs or bulk enzymes contain disulfide bonds, which are often essential determinats of the three-dimensional structure  and of the actvity of these proteins.  Where      recombinant proteins are expressed in non-native hosts, formation of appropriate disulfide bonds can be challenging and can require manipulation of the oxidative folding machinery that forms these bonds. In my research project, I am studying the capacity for disulfide bond formation in recombinant protein expression systems, and how to manipulate this capacity, using computational methods.

Charlotte Bilsby - MSc student

Research Project

Novel bioremediation systems for microplastic contaminated soils

Microplastics (ub-mm plastic particles) have been found in soil samples all over the world, and emerging evidence indicates that they can adversely affect the soil faun and flora. Unlike for marine plastic pollution which has been widely publicised and for which solutions are actively being sought. plastic pollution in soils is a eglected problem. In my research project I am attempting to engineer a naturaly soil-dwelling mirobe, Dictyostelium, to seccrete plastic-degrading enzymes in soil environments. If successful, this engineered system would constitue one of the first available sollutions for tackling microplastic contamination in soils.

Noor Issa- MSc student

Research Project

Fungal-based expression systems for efficient production of plastic degrading enzymes

Plastic waste, and how to avoid it entering the environment, is an actively researched problem. A number of different approaches are currently being developed to recycle plastic waste. Biological plastic degradation by naturally occurring or engineered enzymes is a novel approach, which is particularly promising because it requires less cleaning and can can potentially efficiently decompose plastics into their original building blocks, thus enabling re-synthesis from the recycling products in a true circular fashion. In my research project I am developing efficient fungal expressions systems for a particular plastic degrading enzyme, PETase.

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