GCRF - START: Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology

Lead Research Organisation: Diamond Light Source
Department Name: Science Division

Abstract

START is a proposal to utilise Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology. It will build a partnership between world leading scientists in Africa and the UK who specialise in two strands of science; developing and characterising novel energy materials (catalysts and photovoltaics) and structural biology (understanding disease and developing drug targets). In START the research direction will be set by considering the local environment and through engagement with scientists, energy industry representatives and relevant non-governmental organisations (NGO's) across Africa.

Most importantly, START is not only about developing new energy materials or structural biology research; equally important is training the next generation of researchers and research leaders in these important areas of study. We will work together in sample fabrication and advanced characterisation through training visits between African and UK institutes. This will include experimental time at Diamond Light Source (the UK national synchrotron source) through peer reviewed access to many of the experimental facilities and in techniques that are the mainstay of understanding these materials. A major ambition of this partnership is to strengthen and broaden the network of synchrotron researchers in Africa, where there is a burgeoning ambition to exploit such facilities. This talent development will benefit the researchers themselves but also the local communities, society in general and the environment, through the reduction of burning fossil fuels and improved healthcare.

There are unique challenges to developing sustainable energy in Africa; the large fraction of off-grid consumers, the degradation of energy devices in an environment of heat and dust and the high initial capital costs for traditional installations of energy production or storage systems. Similarly challenging is addressing the health needs on the African continent, where diseases like tuberculosis and malaria negatively affect whole societies. The first step to finding and developing cures is to understand the molecular structure. Thus for both strands of research, synchrotron radiation for structure determination is at the core of scientific progress. It is critical that the countries in Africa expand their own capabilities to produce the next generation of appropriate energy materials and development of cures for relevant diseases. START aims to aid those developments through building the capacity and capability of African based scientists in both strands.

The START team is driven by the ambition to work together to solve these two strands of research, addressing some of the most pressing problems that will directly impact on peoples lives. This proposal is directly in line with the development aspirations of the African Nations who have a stated ambition to 'transform Africa from traditional to modern sources of energy and ensure access of all Africans to clean and affordable electricity' and 'Develop/implement strategies for the growth of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa'. Our aspirations are furthermore directly in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 7) and Climate Action (Goal 13) as well as Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). START will help to contribute in all of these areas, which crucially underpin many of the further Sustainable Development Goals.

Planned Impact

START will be beneficial to the economic development and welfare of many countries across Africa. These countries have the stated ambition to move to economies driven by amongst others; Science, Technology and Innovation; Human Capital Development; and Infrastructural Development. START will have an impact in all of these areas, in particular in the countries involved in this partnership, namely South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Egypt. The African and UK investigators will work together to develop and characterise new materials of relevance to solar energy conversion and catalysis (strand 1) as well as to characterise proteins of relevance to better understand diseases and develop drugs (strand 2). Both are considered grand global challenges. The most promising materials and drugs will find their way into new products, commercialised by local industries (African and UK) that will directly benefit the national economies and lead to an improved energy infrastructure and healthier continent.

An equally important aspect of START is training the researchers and societal engagement that will lead to an 'inclusive and equitable quality education'; another of the stated aims of the Global Challenge Research Fund. There is a strong element of focused scientific training for the researchers but this will be supplemented by innovation and entrepreneurship training, to help them towards roles in scientific leadership as their careers develop. The unique training opportunity available at Diamond Light Source will expand the capability and numbers of researchers experienced with the characterisation techniques, essential to gain a full understanding of the novel materials and structure determination of proteins. The active outreach programme that we will implement as part of START will be another route to engage with the broader scientific community, the general public and with children. We will work together with Diamond Light Source's highly respected Communications team to present the START research and broader context of the programme at public open days, writing articles for public and general science literature, through schools talks and science fairs, website design and creating an active social media presence.

START will provide a lasting legacy; this project will kick-start lifelong collaborations for research and development of energy materials and research into drugs. The team includes investigators at all stages of their careers to provide a balance of experience, enthusiasm and ambition that will lead to a dynamic programme of research and a team that will drive forward future projects.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Title Keiskamma Art Project - Tapestries relating to START Science 
Description The Keiskamma Art Project have now started to make 500mm square artworks relating to each of the 22 START PIs research projects. Each group of scientists have distilled their research into image ideas which will then be skillfully translated into tapestry panels that will inspire dialogue about START science with a far wider audience. These artworks will be transported between the UK and Africa and can form part of exhibitions or events, we would also like to produce a calendar and the artworks will eventually find a home in each of the PI's institutions. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2020 
Impact One of the main objectives of the START project (objective 5) is for us to engage with a broader audience (scientists, policymakers, general public and children) about what synchrotron techniques can do to address UN sustainable development goals. This will have a particular emphasis on the societal/ research issues specific to Africa, in particular: affordable and clean energy, climate action, good health and well-being as well as gender equality, clean water and sanitation, reduced inequality, sustainable cities and communities. The Keiskamma Trust was established in 2002 by doctor and artist Dr. Carol Hofmeyer, in an effort to uplift the local communities in the Eastern Cape with the vision of building healthy communities in all respects. It was in response to the extreme poverty and high percentage of HIV/AIDS affected families in the area. The Keiskamma Trust is a community organisation, centred in Hamburg, which works to foster hope and offer support for the most vulnerable. The Trust strives to address the challenges of widespread poverty and disease through holistic and creative programmes and partnerships. Most famously, in the entrance to the South African Parliament is a remarkable piece of artwork which winds its way along the wall, its 120-metre length reaching through the lobby to wrap around the exterior of the chamber. This is the Keiskamma Tapestry, an exquisite embroidery in the tradition of the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the work of over 100 previously unemployed women from the Eastern Cape. Currently the tapestries are being created, but it has been a useful process for the scientists to develop their imagery ideas and think about communicating their research in this new way. Exhibition opportunities for the work are also being planned. There has been a direct economic benefit for the women in the community who are working on the project. The artists have engaged with the science, but the biggest impact will happen when we exhibit the panels at Universities and secondary schools with the accompanying text from each research group. 
URL http://www.keiskamma.org/
 
Description Input into IOP funding request for UK-Africa collaboration
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Presentation to STFC ODA Governance Board
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact This was the first major STFC award under the GCRF programme and as such the ways of working were developed between the grant holders and STFC. This has included developing the due diligence policy and the monitoring procedures.
 
Title Blue Native PAGE grid blotting 
Description We have used a combination of blue native PAGE for isolating cytoplasmic proteins, grid-blotting and mass-spectrometry for the first time. This has allowed us to solve the structures- and identify native proteins from Mycobacterium smegmatis. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Protein expression and purification are one of the limiting steps in structure determination experiments. We are now able to apply a shotgun approach to structure solution by isolating protein complexes by blue native PAGE and directly transferring them onto EM grids for data collection. The transferred bands can then be identified by mass-spectrometry. 
 
Title MINERVA chamber 
Description A new vacuum chamber has been built that directly enables in-situ monitoring of the structural changes during growth of molecular materials studied by grazing incidence x-ray scattering techniques. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Papers are in preparation to identify the dynamics of growth and the effect is in-situ crystallisation. 
 
Title Our Group's Github Page 
Description Following Open Science/Innovation approaches, we put all our code, procedures and design up on github 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Code, procedures and designs available online, this webpage is continuously updated and as such the outcome date is always moved to the most recent year. 
URL https://github.com/AFMD
 
Title Protein crystallisation of pantothenamide derivates with PanK enzyme (Stellenbosch University) 
Description The PanK enzyme was expressed and purified from E.coli cells. Two different pantothenamide derivatives were incubated with PanK and the crystallisation conditions were screened against various reservoir solutions. Using the optimised crystallisation conditions, X-ray diffraction patterns were obtained. The incubated protein and as well the stock solutions were then shipped to Diamond Light Source for further experiments at the Synchrotron. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This work is ongoing, Stellenbosch University's plan is to go to the Diamond Light Source to obtain the X-ray crystal structures of our pantothenamide derivatives bound to PanK. With the protein crystallisation conditions in hand, we can now carry on to the next step in terms of obtaining X-ray diffraction patterns at the Diamond Light Source. The results will greatly help us in our understanding of how the pantothenamide derivates interact with the PanK enzyme. We can then design better pantothenamide inhibitors based on this results. 
 
Title Synthesis of phosphopantothenamide derivatives that inhibit the synthesis of acetyl-CoA in Staphylococcus aureu (Stellenbosch University) 
Description The derivatives were synthesised from commercially available precursors. The synthetic procedures were optimised over this period of time to address the underlying problems that the University has faced such as separation difficulties, purity issues and the yield of the obtained products. We are currently in the final stages of obtaining the desired final compounds. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The synthesis of the phosphopantothenamide derivatives will provide us with the necessary materials for our biochemical experiments. Some of the derivatives are costly to obtain or not commercially available thus synthesising it in-house eliminates these problems. In addition, the synthetic procedures to synthesise the derivatives can be published in a peer-reviewed chemistry journal. The synthesis of the phosphopantotenamide derivatives will be completed and the synthetic procedures will be published in a peer-reviewed chemistry journal. 
 
Title Upgrade of MINERVA chamber 
Description Developed an imporved lower chamber to enable coevporation of up to 3 different molecules to enable studies of doped organic samples of relevance to photovoltaics 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None as yet - to be used for future beamtime experiments 
 
Title Using XChem at Diamond Light Source to discover potential new antimicrobial scaffolds 
Description This research method is carried out by means of the XChem workflow at Diamond, which relies on high-throughput screening of protein crystals soaked with a library of fragments. Hit fragments identified in this manner will be characterized further through a variety of in vitro enzyme inhibition and biophysical binding assays, with the information gained in this manner being used for the elaboration of the fragments into building blocks for the development of novel antimicrobial inhibitors. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact SaPanK project: Based on the data that we have obtained from the fragment screening performed in March 2019, we have identified several hits that were bound to the SaPanK protein. However, it was determined that none of the fragments displaces the original ligand (phospho-N7-Pan) from the active site as predicted, but rather bound to the surface of the protein in an apparently previously unidentified allosteric site. We are proposing that the bound compounds at this site can potentially act as allosteric inhibitors of the enzyme. SaMerA project: In a previous project SaMerA was shown to be involved in the host-microbe response, specifically as a bacterial defense mechanism detoxifying a neutrophil derived antimicrobial reactive chlorine species. XChem identified several small molecule hits, two of which were bound to the active site of the protein. These fragment hits have led to two follow-up projects involving the Opentrons parallel synthesis setup in the Von Delft group at DLS as well as covalent inhibitor screening with the London group at the Weizmann Institute of Science. 
 
Title PDB Deposition 6I00 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact In paper Cryo-EM and directed evolution reveal howArabidopsisnitrilase specificity is influenced by its quaternary structure. (2019) Mulelu, A.E., Kirykowicz, A.M., Woodward, J.D. Commun Biol 2: 260-260 
URL http://www.rcsb.org/structure/6I00
 
Title PDB Deposition 6I45 
Description Crystal structure of I13V/I62V/V77I South African HIV-1 subtype C protease containing a D25A mutation 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Publication: Crystal structure of I13V/I62V/V77I South African HIV-1 subtype C protease containing a D25A mutation. Sherry, D., Pandian, R., Achilonu, I.A., Dirr, H.W., Sayed, Y. To be published. 
URL http://www.rcsb.org/structure/6I45
 
Title PDB Deposition 6I5T 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Paper: Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. Mulelu, A.E., Kirykowicz, A.M., Woodward, J.D. To be published. 
URL https://www.rcsb.org/structure/6i5t
 
Title PDB Deposition 6I5U 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Paper: Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. Mulelu, A.E., Kirykowicz, A.M., Woodward, J.D. 
URL https://www.rcsb.org/structure/6i5u
 
Title PDB Deposition 6RWD 
Description Crystal structure of SjGST in complex with GSH and ellagic acid at 1.53 Angstrom resolution 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Publication: Molecular basis of the inhibition of Schistosoma japonicum glutathione transferase by ellagic acid: insights into structure and biophysical studies. Jessica, O., Pandian, R., Sayed, Y., Dirr, H.W., Achilonu, I.A. To be published. 
URL http://www.rcsb.org/structure/6RWD
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-0320 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. Source organism: Arabidopsis thaliana 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Paper: Cryo-EM and directed evolution reveal howArabidopsisnitrilase specificity is influenced by its quaternary structure. (2019) Mulelu AE, Kirykowicz AM, Woodward JD Commun Biol 2 260-260 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-0320
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-10004 
Description Native encapsulated dye decolourising type peroxidase from Mycobacterium smegmatis 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of current research activity 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-10004
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-10005 
Description Native bacterioferritin from Mycobacterium smegmatis 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of current research activity 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-10005
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-10008 
Description Native encapsulin with bound dye decolourising peroxidase on three fold axis 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of current research activity 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-10008
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4185 
Description Human GroEL obtained by grid-blotting from blue native PAGE 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of current research interests 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4185
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4186 
Description Glutamine synthetase I from Mycobacterium smegmatis 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of current research activity 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4186
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4406 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. Source organism: Arabidopsis thaliana 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Paper: Cryo-EM and directed evolution reveal howArabidopsisnitrilase specificity is influenced by its quaternary structure. (2019) Mulelu AE, Kirykowicz AM, Woodward JD Commun Biol 2 260-260 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4406
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4407 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. Source organism: Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Paper: Cryo-EM and directed evolution reveal howArabidopsisnitrilase specificity is influenced by its quaternary structure. (2019) Mulelu AE, Kirykowicz AM, Woodward JD Commun Biol 2 260-260 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4407
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4418 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of a Nature paper. 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4418
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4420 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. Source organism: Arabidopsis thaliana Active helical nitrilase complex 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Part of a Nature paper. 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4420
 
Title PDB Deposition EMD-4804 
Description Cryo-EM informed directed evolution of Nitrilase 4 leads to a change in quaternary structure. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Paper: Cryo-EM and directed evolution reveal howArabidopsisnitrilase specificity is influenced by its quaternary structure. (2019) Mulelu AE, Kirykowicz AM, Woodward JD. Commun Biol 2 260-260 
URL https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/entry/emdb/EMD-4804
 
Description CCP4 Crystallographic School in South Africa, from Data Collection to Structure Refinement and Beyond 
Organisation Diamond Light Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Carmien Tolmie is a main local organizer for the workshop
Collaborator Contribution CCP4 financially contributed significantly to the workshop and also assists in organization, the University of Cape Town is also responsible for a large portion of the organization (specifically Trevor Sewell). Staff from
Impact Yes, the workshop will commence 31 March 2020. In addition to providing excellent training for the participants, it is an excellent opportunity for network building among the participants, who come from Africa and beyond.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CCP4 Crystallographic School in South Africa, from Data Collection to Structure Refinement and Beyond 
Organisation International Union of Crystallography (IUCr)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Carmien Tolmie is a main local organizer for the workshop
Collaborator Contribution CCP4 financially contributed significantly to the workshop and also assists in organization, the University of Cape Town is also responsible for a large portion of the organization (specifically Trevor Sewell). Staff from
Impact Yes, the workshop will commence 31 March 2020. In addition to providing excellent training for the participants, it is an excellent opportunity for network building among the participants, who come from Africa and beyond.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CCP4 Crystallographic School in South Africa, from Data Collection to Structure Refinement and Beyond 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Carmien Tolmie is a main local organizer for the workshop
Collaborator Contribution CCP4 financially contributed significantly to the workshop and also assists in organization, the University of Cape Town is also responsible for a large portion of the organization (specifically Trevor Sewell). Staff from
Impact Yes, the workshop will commence 31 March 2020. In addition to providing excellent training for the participants, it is an excellent opportunity for network building among the participants, who come from Africa and beyond.
Start Year 2019
 
Description CLASP - Diamond, Oxford, ISIS 
Organisation Eight19
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Beamline I07 at Diamond will develop the techniques required to understand the microstructure of organic photovoltaic interfaces using X-ray scattering. We will apply for beamtime and be fully involved in the data taking and data analysis. Methods will include determination of crystallinity and domain size; as well as developing methods for in-situ characterisation of the structures during vacuum deposition.
Collaborator Contribution Diamond, ISIS and Oxford provide the academic drive for the project on organic photovoltaics. The other companies will develop chemicals, processes and equipment to help enable the project. The grant has only just started so developments are at an early stage.
Impact Formal collaboration agreement. Design of in-situ chamber underway.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CLASP - Diamond, Oxford, ISIS 
Organisation Kurt J Lesker Company
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Beamline I07 at Diamond will develop the techniques required to understand the microstructure of organic photovoltaic interfaces using X-ray scattering. We will apply for beamtime and be fully involved in the data taking and data analysis. Methods will include determination of crystallinity and domain size; as well as developing methods for in-situ characterisation of the structures during vacuum deposition.
Collaborator Contribution Diamond, ISIS and Oxford provide the academic drive for the project on organic photovoltaics. The other companies will develop chemicals, processes and equipment to help enable the project. The grant has only just started so developments are at an early stage.
Impact Formal collaboration agreement. Design of in-situ chamber underway.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CLASP - Diamond, Oxford, ISIS 
Organisation Merck
Department Merck UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Beamline I07 at Diamond will develop the techniques required to understand the microstructure of organic photovoltaic interfaces using X-ray scattering. We will apply for beamtime and be fully involved in the data taking and data analysis. Methods will include determination of crystallinity and domain size; as well as developing methods for in-situ characterisation of the structures during vacuum deposition.
Collaborator Contribution Diamond, ISIS and Oxford provide the academic drive for the project on organic photovoltaics. The other companies will develop chemicals, processes and equipment to help enable the project. The grant has only just started so developments are at an early stage.
Impact Formal collaboration agreement. Design of in-situ chamber underway.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CLASP - Diamond, Oxford, ISIS 
Organisation Oxford Photovoltaics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Beamline I07 at Diamond will develop the techniques required to understand the microstructure of organic photovoltaic interfaces using X-ray scattering. We will apply for beamtime and be fully involved in the data taking and data analysis. Methods will include determination of crystallinity and domain size; as well as developing methods for in-situ characterisation of the structures during vacuum deposition.
Collaborator Contribution Diamond, ISIS and Oxford provide the academic drive for the project on organic photovoltaics. The other companies will develop chemicals, processes and equipment to help enable the project. The grant has only just started so developments are at an early stage.
Impact Formal collaboration agreement. Design of in-situ chamber underway.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CLASP - Diamond, Oxford, ISIS 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Department ISIS Neutron and Muon Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Beamline I07 at Diamond will develop the techniques required to understand the microstructure of organic photovoltaic interfaces using X-ray scattering. We will apply for beamtime and be fully involved in the data taking and data analysis. Methods will include determination of crystallinity and domain size; as well as developing methods for in-situ characterisation of the structures during vacuum deposition.
Collaborator Contribution Diamond, ISIS and Oxford provide the academic drive for the project on organic photovoltaics. The other companies will develop chemicals, processes and equipment to help enable the project. The grant has only just started so developments are at an early stage.
Impact Formal collaboration agreement. Design of in-situ chamber underway.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CLASP - Diamond, Oxford, ISIS 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Beamline I07 at Diamond will develop the techniques required to understand the microstructure of organic photovoltaic interfaces using X-ray scattering. We will apply for beamtime and be fully involved in the data taking and data analysis. Methods will include determination of crystallinity and domain size; as well as developing methods for in-situ characterisation of the structures during vacuum deposition.
Collaborator Contribution Diamond, ISIS and Oxford provide the academic drive for the project on organic photovoltaics. The other companies will develop chemicals, processes and equipment to help enable the project. The grant has only just started so developments are at an early stage.
Impact Formal collaboration agreement. Design of in-situ chamber underway.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Cryo-EM of furin-cleaved HPV16 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Jeremy Woodward is co-supervising one of Dr Georgia Scaefer's MSc students to prepare samples for cryo-EM, collect and process the data and interpret the structures.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Schaefer is providing purified pseudovirions and is funding an MSc student to perform cryo-EM analysis.
Impact Dr Schaefer is an associate member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town. As a result of START funding, Jeremy is able to reach out to support other groups alongside his own research interests.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Crystallographic research - collaboration beween National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) and the University of the Free State 
Organisation University of Free State, Bloemfontein
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution GCRF START provides funding to the two partner organisations to enable them to research using synchrotron techniques available at Diamond Light Source (through training and research investigations).
Collaborator Contribution Thandeka Moyo, Postdoctoral Research Fellow took part in a research visit to START co-investigator Dirk Opperman's laboratory at the University of the Free State, South Africa to learn specific crystallography techniques, from 28 - 30 November 2018. Dr Thandeka Moyo successfully obtained crystals which were analysed at the Diamond synchrotron on 14 December 2018. The collaboration with other START investigators at other institutes has strengthened the structural biology expertise in our laboratory. The postdoctoral fellow who has been attending all the training is now equipped with theoretical and practical experience to independently conduct X-ray crystallographic experiments. We have sent crystals to two beamtime sessions and have got diffraction data which we are currently optimizing.
Impact We aim to obtain high resolution crystal structures as our current structures are not at atomic resolution. We also aim to continue with our current collaborations and build new ones with other START co-investigators.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Crystallographic research - collaboration beween National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) and the University of the Free State 
Organisation Wits Health Consortium
Country South Africa 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution GCRF START provides funding to the two partner organisations to enable them to research using synchrotron techniques available at Diamond Light Source (through training and research investigations).
Collaborator Contribution Thandeka Moyo, Postdoctoral Research Fellow took part in a research visit to START co-investigator Dirk Opperman's laboratory at the University of the Free State, South Africa to learn specific crystallography techniques, from 28 - 30 November 2018. Dr Thandeka Moyo successfully obtained crystals which were analysed at the Diamond synchrotron on 14 December 2018. The collaboration with other START investigators at other institutes has strengthened the structural biology expertise in our laboratory. The postdoctoral fellow who has been attending all the training is now equipped with theoretical and practical experience to independently conduct X-ray crystallographic experiments. We have sent crystals to two beamtime sessions and have got diffraction data which we are currently optimizing.
Impact We aim to obtain high resolution crystal structures as our current structures are not at atomic resolution. We also aim to continue with our current collaborations and build new ones with other START co-investigators.
Start Year 2018
 
Description H3D/University of Leeds collaboration: Plasmodium Aurora-related kinases 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) at UCT has vast experience in malaria drug discovery and has the chemical equity for putative Plasmodium Aurora-related kinase inhibitors displaying antiplasmodium activity that led to the initiation of this project. The well-established drug discovery platform at H3D consists of medicinal chemistry, parasitology, ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion)/DMPK (drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics) and computer-aided drug design. Over the past two years, Dr Arendse has been leading the efforts at H3D to set up a Plasmodium kinase platform for target-based drug discovery, expanding the malaria platform to include recombinant protein expression, enzymology and structural biology.
Collaborator Contribution The Bayliss group based at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds has done extensive work focused on the structure, function, regulation and inhibition of human Aurora kinases. The Bayliss group hosted Dr. Arendse, a START postoctoral fellow at the time, for a six-week research visit which was funded by a Cheney Fellowship awarded to Prof. Kelly Chibale. During this visit Dr. Arendse gained practical experience expressing and purifying human Aurora-A and become familiar with carrying out human Aurora kinase assays, adapting the assays into a suitable format for off-target compound screening at H3D. Combining H3D's expertise in malaria drug discovery with the Bayliss group's expertise in Aurora kinases will enable H3D to more rapidly gain insight into the structure and function of the Plasmodium Aurora kinases and establish the required in vitro assays, including the off-target human Aurora kinase assays, to support a drug discovery program targeting these enzymes.
Impact Research techniques learnt at Astbury are now being developed in the labs at H3D. This placement helped an application to the Future Leaders - African Independent Research (FLAIR) Fellowship (result TBC).
Start Year 2019
 
Description Link with ANSDAC Newton Funded Project 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution ANSDAC has a focus of data analysis for synchrotrn related research while START focuses more on the experiments. ANSDAC has run training workshops and START has now agreed to fund the final workshop in 2020 rather tha run its own to avoid duplication of effort. The ANSDAC model has worked well so START will adopt the same approach but slightly broaden the techniques covered.
Collaborator Contribution They will organise and run the workshop withtheir existing contacts whil START will supplement this and fund the workshop.
Impact Workshop to run in June/July 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Title Group Code on Github 
Description Code, procedures and designs available online, this webpage is continuously updated and as such the outcome date is always moved to the most recent year. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact research and open science community 
URL https://github.com/orgs/AFMD/dashboard
 
Description 1st Biophysics and Structural Biology at Synchrotrons Workshop held at University of Cape 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I deliverd a lecture about Cryo-electron Microscopy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://synchrotron.org.za/wiki/
 
Description 5th European School for Crystallography (Wolf-Dieter Schubert) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 5th European School for Crystallography at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Date: Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Time: 9:00 - 10:30
Title: Protein production, purification and crystallization
Time: 11:00 - 12:30
Title: Practical protein crystallization
Date: Friday, 13 July 2018
Time: 16:00 - 17:00
Title: Structure refinement, quality control and analysis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www0.sun.ac.za/ecs5/
 
Description African Union - European Union Workshop - Exhibition of Energy Storage Programmes at the University of Limpopo - June 2019 (Phuti Ngoepe Group) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Took part in an exhigition outlining the START funded activities to a meeting of the African Union and European Union
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Attendance at CCP4 workshop in Brazil (Carmien Tolmie) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Attended a CCP4 workshop for training in processing of macromolecular crystallography data - workshop held in Sao Carlos, Brazil (November 2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Biophysics and Structural Biology at Synchrotrns Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A workshop on the potential of structural biology for life scientists in South Africa, Included background and remote data collection for a number of postgraduate students and investigators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Biophysics and Structural Biology at Synchrotrons workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This workshop was aimed at introducing young, mostly African, bioscience researchers to the power of synchrotron based facilities.

It had as its focus, the structure determination and other biophysical resources required for vaccine design, drug discovery, industrial enzymology and agrochemicals. The course traced the technology required to go from gene to the structure of proteins, as well as synchrotron based techniques for imaging cells. Topics covered included advanced strategies for crystallization, high-throughput data collection by X-ray diffraction, single particle cryo-EM, structure refinement, X-ray tomography, circular dichroism and spectroscopy. Students learned how to access synchrotron based resources and gained practical experience of working with proteins, data collection, data processing, structure interpretation and complex experimental strategies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://biophysicsworkshop.co.za
 
Description Carmien Tolmie attended the CCP4/MX2018 Macromolecular Crystallography School at the Institute for Physics, Sao Carlos University, Sao Carlos, Brazil from 14-24 November 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Ms Tolmie (University of the Free State) presented a poster at this workshop entitled: Structure and function of Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases from Aspergillus flavus. The other institutions that were involved are the Institute of Physics of the University of Sao Carlos, as well as the CCP4 developers.

The crystallographic school served to better the crystallographic knowledge of the three participants, to enable them to better process their crystallographic data.

Miss Tolmie will register as a START PDRA and will use the skills she obtained at the workshop to improve the processing of the crystallographic data collected during her post-doc. She will work on monooxygenases from bacterial and fungal sources as drug targets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.ifsc.usp.br/mx2018
 
Description Computer simulation and phase diagram prediction of Li2S - Annual National Meeting of the Centre for High Perfomance Computing 2018 (Phuti Ngoepe Group) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation of START funded catalysis work done using theoretical mothods at the main South African meeting for high performance computing
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Energy Materials Case Study 1 - START: Inspiring collaboration and the next generation of scientists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Sikhumbuzo Masina is an energy materials PhD student at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, who is working on Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) electrolytes to provide cost effective and environmentally sensitive alternative energy solutions for Africa and beyond. He inspires others and is involved in outreach through the 'Whizz Bang' group at Wits University and through this brings attention to the opportunities provided by START. Through outreach events and school visits, the group demonstrates a variety of chemical experiments and use the START banners in their displays to raise awareness about the important influence of synchrotron techniques on African research, especially in terms of energy materials.
START exerts its influence beyond the students and scientists that it directly funds, inspiring the next cohort of PhD and Postdoctoral students, developing their knowledge and skills, and enabling collaboration that can last a lifetime. Through outreach events and school visits, the group has been able to raise awareness about the important influence of synchrotron techniques on African research, especially in terms of energy materials to possibly the next generation of young scientists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Energy Materials Case Study 2 - Fast oxide ion conductors for solid oxide fuel cells: average and local structure-property correlations in solid solutions 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The research is looking at the effect of temperature on the stability, conductivity, thermal expansion and related properties of the materials used in SOFCs. The focus is specifically on studying the effects of impurity cations on the average and local structure of Bi2O3, a potential SOFCs electrolyte .This involves adding foreign (impurity) atoms into a material and observing the effect of these atoms on the arrangement of the host atoms and correlating this with the change in physical properties like electric conductivity, as well as thermal expansion and stability. The group is studying both the average and local structure (repeat pattern over long distances and local atomic arrangements respectively) of the solid solutions of Bi2O3 which will help elucidate what entails a best fast oxide ion conductor. This will, in turn, help in the design pf solid electrolytes that will enable solid oxide fuel cells to operate at intermediate temperatures (500-800°C) and reduce their capital cost - a current stumbling block to their commercialisation.
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells are very efficient devices to generate energy, achieving efficiencies of close to 80% depending on the power generation mode. They can be used off-grid which is vital in countries that experience daily power cuts (rolling blackouts or 'load shedding') especially in rural areas where access to electricity can be scarce, or even non-existent. The aim, is to design and study the behaviour of materials used in the fuel cells 'in-situ', as they operate at various temperatures, in a quest to identify combinations that are sufficiently stable to allow for further development and ultimately commercialisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Energy Materials Case Study 3 - Investigating energy materials for efficient and cost effective conversion of sunlight into electricity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Originally from Kenya, Dr Daniel Wamwangi's research on energy materials focuses on energy conversion with the aim of converting sunlight into electricity in the most efficient and cost effective way. The crux of Professor Wamwangi's study is where cost-effective materials such as Organic materials (organic polymer based solar cell) and Inorganic materials (halide perovskites - a hybrid between inorganic and organic materials, which can be solution-based), and control of solar energy in materials (supplementary light management schemes) are investigated and developed.
GCRF_START provides the opportunity to probe the type of microstructure of the materials under study to elucidate the electron (negative charge) and hole transport (positive) charge within the network using sophisticated synchrotron techniques known as GIWAXS and GISAXS. Using the facilities available at Diamond through START, as well as expertise within the START family, they can correlate the microstructure with the production of current (photocurrent) and also with the absorption of light on a dynamic basis.
The ultimate aim of the research is to contribute to finding ways of converting sunlight into electricity in the most efficient and cost effective way. The availability of alternative energy at increased efficiencies with lower costs and improved environmental footprints has domino effects on the social economic landscape. Benefits such as pumped water supply and purification through local solar power generators, solar based lamps and solar powered electronic devices such as cell phones could radically improve the living standards of populations in rural areas across Africa.
START also provides a collaborative and 'upskilling' forum for scientists in Africa working in this field of Energy Materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Energy Materials Case Study 5 - Catalysis for the Climate Change Challenge: Iron-based alloys as catalysts for CO2 Hydrogenation  
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Intelligent design of catalytic material for the conversion of starting materials to key products, with high activity and selectivity, is of great academic and industrial importance. To establish the catalyst structure correlation with activity and selectivity, fundamental understanding of the catalytic material is needed and how it performs under 'in situ' conditions. By understanding the materials, the catalysts we prepare will actually help us to have a more intelligent approach to catalyst design which will provide a lot of advantages.In this project the direct and indirect hydrogenation routes of CO2 are being investigated. The latter makes use of a synthesis gas (CO + H2) which can be derived via the so-called reverse water gas shift reaction, which is then converted using the Fischer-Tropsch reaction.
The aim of the research is to close the cycle of CO2 using hydrogen from renewable energies to produce fuels that could be used in transportation or energy generation, which would itself produce CO2 that we could actually convert to fuels. These fuels, often referred to as 'e-fuels' or 'power fuels', may play an important role in future defossilisation, particularly in the aviation industry where high density fuels are required.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Energy Materials START workshop at the University of Cape Town (16-17 Dec 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop/ talks from project Principal investigator, Co-investigators, PDRA's and Students from both South Africa and various areas of the UK. The workshop was a great platform to build connections with START and to form future collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Enzymology in action: Picking apart a new weapon in the epic immune battle between neutrophils and Staphylococcus aureus - Erick Strauss from Stellenbosch University at Diamond Light Source 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Erick Strauss visited Diamond Light Source to present some ofthe advances from his lab in antimicrobial drug development, as well as the wider successes of Life Science in the START program across Africa. The audience consisted of scientists, collaborators, and staff from across the Harwell Campus and nearby univerisites. Further discussions continued after about he future developments of the projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description GCRF-START kick-off meeting September 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the first collective meeting for all START co-investigators and their Post-Doctoral assistants and some PhD students. The event was useful in introducing the management of START, setting the scene for the research in both directions - structural biology and energy materials.

Having researchers present from Africa and the UK opened opportunities for discussion and the beginnings of new collaborations were built on which are set to continue through the life of the START project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Honours Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Outreach to promote Structural Biology and encourage undergraduate students to consider studying it at honours level. A record number of students appliedand were accepted for the BMedSc(Hons) programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
URL http://www.health.uct.ac.za/event/honours-open-day
 
Description Indaba 9 talk by Wolf-Dieter Schubert 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Indaba 9 (Conference by the South African Crystallographic Society)
Place: Skukuza Camp, Kruger Park, South Africa
Date: 4 September 2018
Title: Interdomain Interactions within a Multimodular Xylanase Xyl.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1991800
 
Description Lecture at the 5th European Crystallographic School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I deliverd a lecture about Cryo-electron Microscopy focussing on the importance of regional and access to international research infrastructure
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www0.sun.ac.za/ecs5/
 
Description MSSA preconference Cryo-EM workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 17 postgraduate students, postdoctoral research fellows and technical staff attended the workshop aimed at introducting the participants to the cryo-EM pipeline. The participants attended lectures, a computer-based processing tutorial and attended hands-on practical sessions where they prepared and imaged cryo-EM samples.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.mssaconference.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/MSSA_Workshop2019_.pdf
 
Description Member of council of Royal Society of South Afric - Ed Sturrock member of committee 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Member of council of Royal Society of South Africa and chaired the committee in that organised the Annual SA Schools Essay Competition, this reached a Wider South African scientific community and lay audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.royalsocietysa.org.za/?page_id=247
 
Description Newspaper Article: Three UCT biochemistry researchers able to make new enzymes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Newpaper article about Cape Town - Three UCT researchers have made a breakthrough in biochemistry with their discovery of an enzyme, at close to atomic resolution, which may assist with manufacturing better medicines or even cleaning up pollution. Jeremy Woodward, Andani Mulelu and Angela Kirykowicz studied the structure of a group of enzymes called nitrilases, which carries a range of biotechnological potential.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/three-uct-biochemistry-researchers-able-to-make-new-enzymes-440...
 
Description Nickel-gallium phases dependence in carbon dioxode hydrogenation - Catalysis Society of South Africa (Michael Claeys Group) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at the National Catalysis conference on work supported by the START programme
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Open Research Day (Michael Claeys Group) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Discuss possibilities for postgraduate research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Organic Solar Cells Networking events (Moritz Riede Group) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact PDRA from the group gave poster at F-pi14 conference in Berlin and a talk at a China-UK conference in Swansea.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Pan-African Crystallography Conference (PCCr2) and second African Light Source Conference (AfLS2) talks by Wiolf-Dieter Schubert 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Joint Meeting of the second Pan-African Crystallography Conference (PCCr2) and second African Light Source Conference (AfLS2)
Place: University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana

Pre-Conference Training Workshop on Structural Biology, a tool for sustainable development in Africa, BioStruct-Africa
Date: 28 January 2019
Title: Protein production, purifcation and crystallization
Time: 11:00 - 12:00
Audience: Postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty from various African countries.
Audience size: 30

PCCr2
Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Time: 11:20 - 11:40
Title: Virulence Factors of Listeria monocytogenes
Audience: Structural Biologists (postgraduate, postdoctoral, faculty) from various African countries, Europe and South America.
Audience size: 50

AfLS2
Time: 15:40 - 16:00
Title: Bioscience Highlights from South Africa
Audience: Physicists, Material Scientists, Paleontologists mainly from African countries with some representation from European, Asian and South American countries.
Audience size: 50
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1991800
 
Description Poster Presentation - Computational Methods for Catalysis (Richard Catlow Group) - Solid State Chemistry Group Meeting (London, Dec 2018) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Poster on the results obtained to undertsand the process of CO2 hydrogenation to methanol using different catalysts
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster Presentation - Computational Methods for Catalysis (Richard Catlow Group) - UK Catalysis Conference (Looughborough, Jan 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Work on catalysts used for hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster Presentation - Computational Methods for Catalysis (Richard Catlow Group) - UK Catalysis Hub Phase 2 Launch Event (London, Feb 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster on computational methods used in Catalysis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster Presentation - Computational Methods for Catalysis (Richard Catlow Group) - UK Catalysis Hub Spring Conference (Harwell, May 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Computational methods (DFT) used in catalysis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster presentation by University of Cape Town - Edward Sturrock: at the Gordon Research Conference, Proteolytic Enzymes and their Inhibitors, Ill Ciocco, Italy, June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gordon Conference - International protease and protease inhibitor communities - a forum for discussion of new findings in the developments relating to the role of proteolytic enzymes and inhibitors in health and disease. It provided opportunities for early career scientists to meet established scientists in the area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.grc.org/proteolytic-enzymes-and-their-inhibitors-conference/2018/
 
Description Presentation by University of Cape Town - Edward Sturrock: South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Potchefstroom, South Africa, July 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SASBMB) conference - South African biochemistry and structural biology communities - Reaching the wider South African scientific community and lay audience
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://sasbmb.org.za/congress-2016/
 
Description Presentation on malaria drug discovery (Lauran Arendse) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lauren Arendse is a postdoctoral candidate working under a START co-investigator she presented on current research and future plans related to structure-based malaria drug discovery at the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) Scientific Management Advisory Board meeting, University of Cape Town, November 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation, Stellenbosch (Lauren Arendse) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Lauren Arendse is a postdoc under a START co-investigator. She presented talk entitled "Dual ACE C-domain and neprilysin inhibitors for the treatment of hypertension & cardiovascular disease" at the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Satellite Meeting 2018, 28 - 30 November, Stellenbosch 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.hypertension.org.za/events/2018/raas-satelite-meeting-28-30-november-2018
 
Description SA-BioImaging Symposium STIAS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact I delivered a lecture about Cryo-electron Microscopy focussing on the importance of regional and access to international research infrastructure. A fruitful discussion arose with a representative of the South African the National Research Foundation about funding access to cryo-EM infrastructure for South African researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description START formal Launch Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Formal Launch event for the grant will all reserach groups represented - also had VIP visit for Felix Dakora (President of African Association for Advancement of Science) and Simon Connel (Chair of the African Light Source Project). Publicity included two radio interviews (BBC Oxford and Jack FM), a website article and an article in synchrotron radiation news.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Science Highlight - Designer enzymes on the way 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Science Highlights are published by Diamond Light Source to highlight some of the most interesting and advanced research carried out at the facility. In this instance, as part of the START collaboration, a team from Cape Town have recently published the first high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy (EM) paper to originate from Africa. As described in Nature Communications Biology, the team solved the structure of a nitrilases enzyme to a close-to-atomic resolution and used the structural insights to design a mutant enzyme that could be fine-tuned for applications in biotechnology. This work was made possible through an access programme funded by the Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology project, a collaborative grant which seeks to build partnerships between world leading scientists in Africa and the UK working together on research using synchrotron science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.diamond.ac.uk/Science/Research/Highlights/2019/Designer-enzymes-on-the-way.html
 
Description South African Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - talk (Wolf-Dieter Schubert) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Results from the START grant were presented at
Joint meeting of the South African Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SASBMB) - Federation of African Societires for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (FASBMB)
Title: Interdomain interactions within a multimodular xylanase Xyl
Place: North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Date: 10 July 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://sasbmb.org.za/congress-2016/
 
Description Structural Biology Case Study 1 - Inspire a new generation of African scientists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Mulelu's Journey to becoming a 'Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology (START) Postdoctoral Research Fellow' at the University of Cape Town's (UCT's) and his achievements since, is one to inspire a new generation of African scientists to find innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing health and environmental challenges.
Dr Mulelu's story is an example of how UK and Africa can work together to support talented individuals and excellent research with impact. Together with Jeremy and Angela M.Kirykowicz, Dr Mulelu was able to visualise the structure of an intact helical filament at close-to-atomic resolution for the first time - the first high resolution visualisation of a Cryo-Em4 protein structure ever to be produced in Africa! These results could lead one day to a change in the way we approach and access drug design and manufacturing to tackle some of the world's major diseases; and also provide novel 'green' and economical biotechnology solutions for agricultural food security, industry and mining waste treatment in Africa and beyond. After this success, Dr Mululu was offered a position at the H3D Drug Discovery and Development Centre at UCT as a Research Scientist. H3D is the first integrated drug discovery and development centre on the African continent and Dr Mulelu is responsible for providing scientific and technical support in protein expression and purification, structural biology and running biochemical assays to increase the capacity of H3D's Malaria and Tuberculosis (TB) target based drug discovery programs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Structural Biology Case Study 2 - A Dream Realised - How we produced the first high resolution Cryo-Em structure in Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The first hand account from Dr Mulelu of how the first high resolution Cryo-EM structure in Africa was achieved through cutting edge research into nitrilase enzymes at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. The results were published on the 17 July 2019 in Nature Communications Biology 2:260 (2019) 4 and involved experiments using the Diamond Light Source synchrotron in the UK through the Global Challenges Research Fund's Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology Programme (GCRF_START). The exciting journey to this new discovery is charted in detail including the challenges and pleasant surprises faced along the way. Through the eye of the researchers, the personal experiences of preparing the samples and visiting Diamond Light Source Ltd for the first time, as well as the lessons and knowledge learnt, are described in a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the impact of START from a personal perspective.
The resolution of the structure was of international standards. Previously the enzymes had been viewed as "blobs" but now they could be seen in all their intricate detail at close to atomic scale. The impact in terms of knowledge gained and exchanged was immense, personally and scientifically.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Structural Biology Case Study feature 3 - The START of great things! Visualising the structure of an intact helical filament at close-to-atomic resolution for the first time 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The work of Dr Jeremy Woodward, Dr Andani Mulelu and Angela M.Kirykowicz from the University of Cape Town has provided novel and exciting insights into the structure and inner workings of nitrilase enzymes with the potential to address key health, food security and environmental challenges within Africa and beyond. The results were published on the 17 July 2019 in Nature Communications Biology 2:260 (2019) 4 and made possible through access to the eBic facilities at the UK's world-class Diamond Light Source Synchrotron. Using Diamond's 'super microscopes', the scientists were able to observe how the maximum size of a bound substrate is limited by a loop which shifts with helical twist after mutating a single amino acid. These insights allowed the team to semi-rationally design a new mutant nitrilase that produces biotechnologically interesting products. The results achieved could play an important part in providing solutions to meet key global challenges through novel drug design and manufacturing to tackle communicable and non-communicable diseases and pioneering 'green' biotechnology options for agricultural food security, and industry, and mining waste treatment using enzyme-catalysed products. For example, the ability to manipulate how nitrilases work could enable more cost effective manufacturing of drugs for such diseases, leading to cheaper and more accessible medicines, great news for Africa and in other developing countries. In addition, manufacturing locally has a variety of advantages including lowering costs of transport and improving local economic development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description The future of cryo-Electron Microscopy in South Africa (Jermey Woodward) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at the South Africa Bioimaging Symposium in Stellenbosch, Oct 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UCT Chemical Engineering Open Day (Michael Claeys Group) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk to school leavers and their parents about Chemical Engineering
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description University of Cape Town Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Learners were given information about structural biology at a "booth" devoted to the START project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.students.uct.ac.za/students/prospective/open-days
 
Description rgy Materials Case Study 4 - Part 1: Computational modelling of catalysts for CO2 recycling and renewable fuel synthesis ; Part 2: Dr M.Higham's secondment report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact This study examines the role of Catalysis and sustainable, renewable combustible liquid fuels. Dr Michael Higham's research entails applying computational techniques to investigate both new and existing catalytic materials to utilise CO2, in particular for methanol synthesis. Methanol can be used as both a conventional combustible fuel, as well as in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC)10 , which offer an alternative to hydrogen fuel cells with fewer safety and engineering issues to be addressed. Furthermore, methanol can also be used as a starting material for subsequent catalytic processes to produce hydrocarbons, which are chemically equivalent to existing liquid fuels and allow for maximal utilisation of existing technologies. Dr Higham's research has mostly focused on copper (Cu) based catalysts for methanol synthesis, which have been used extensively for the conversion of synthesis gas (a mixture of CO2, CO, H2O and H2 originating from coal gasification processes). In particular, the Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst has been used successfully for decades. Dr Higham has conducted extensive computational investigations into the mechanism of CO2 and CO hydrogenation to methanol over unsupported Cu catalysts, providing detailed insights into key intermediates and limiting elementary processes in the overall reaction.
Whilst there is a great deal of focus on renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar, sustainable and renewable combustible liquid fuels will make an important contribution to reducing humanity's dependence on unsustainable and polluting fuel sources. Catalysis is set to play a core role in alleviating the environmental harm caused by rising CO2 and other challenges by enabling revolutionary new technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and converting it into valuable and versatile synthetic fuels, which may one day replace unsustainable fossil fuels. This would allow for an entirely closed carbon cycle, reflecting nature's own carbon cycle. Computer simulations and modelling are important components in catalytic research, supporting and corroborating by providing an atomic-scale insight into the phenomena that are responsible for macro-scale observations in actual experiments. Using computational investigations, the researchers can test hypotheses in their research for explanations of observed real-world behaviour and on the flipside, they can use what we already know about well-studied systems to examine new, novel materials, and therefore help to direct future experimental studies. For example, Dr Higham's work will provide a benchmark for future computational studies examining ZnO-supported catalysts, which in turn will provide atomic-scale insights into the origin of catalytic activity that will directly complement experimental synchrotron studies.
Following Dr Higham's fruitful research secondment at the University of Cape Town (UCT) through START towards the end of 2019, several new collaborative projects are planned for the new year, in particular, with members of Professor Michael Claeys' group at the Institute of Catalysis Research, UCT and the Centre of Excellence in Catalysis Research (c*change), namely Dr Mohamed Fadlalla and Christopher Mullins, as well as Dominic de Oliveira. The planned collaborations represent not only a trajectory for progress in solving real-world energy problems, but also a fundamental knowledge foundation that can inform future studies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019