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Summer Bursary Report: Jan Gradon

Written by Jan Gradon, posted on Friday, April 29, 2022

Over the coming weeks we'll be showcasing some of the experiences of students who have taken advantage of Christ Church's summer bursary programme. Summer bursaries give students funding to take part in educational and career development opportunities over the long vacation. Applications are now open for 2022. To see the eligibility criteria and to apply visit the Summer Bursary page


Photo of Jan GradaonMy summer internship was held at the Biochemistry Department at the Prof. Colin Kleanthous group. For the duration of my placement, I was investigating the role, structure, functionality and mobility of the TonB outer membrane protein in E.coli bacteria. This protein is used for importing several nutrients for cells. It spans across the periplasm and by using proton-motive, it pulls molecules inside, for utilisation by the bacterium.

During my internship, I learned several biochemical techniques used to transform bacteria and investigated them under light/confocal microscopes. For instance, one of the steps required preparing the TonB protein bound with the Green Fluorescent Protein, so that it could be detected.

Interior of the biochemistry building at the Prof. Colin Kleanthous groupAlso, a fascinating technique I had to learn during my internship was doing FRAP microscopy (Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching) – by applying a laser beam to a given area of the membrane, the fluidity and mobility of membranes can be assessed, this is quantified by how fast fluorescence is recovered. I used FRAP to closely investigate TonB mobility and determine what is the effect on membrane fluidity when it is immobilised.

Overall, the internship was an amazing opportunity for me. During these couple of weeks, I had the chance to work on a fascinating problem, gain numerous new skills and experiences, learn from experts, and also present my research results to the entire group. The placement assured me of pursuing an academic career in the future!