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01 November 2018

Chemistry student wins CCPN poster prize

PhD chemistry student Janina Muench has won the Collaborative Computational Project for NMR (CCPN) poster prize for her work with fluorine NMR spectroscopy.

Molecule model
Molecule model

The annual conference for the Nuclear Magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy community discusses advancements in the field and research findings obtained using NMR. PhD students and postdocs present their work to senior scientists who this year nominated two posters for the prize. Janina won her prize for her unusual but effective approach to using fluorine NMR spectroscopy in her studies.

Janina is a biochemist working with Dr Rivka Isaacson as part of a structural biology research group. In particular Janina studies the quality control of a specific group of membrane proteins using a range of biophysical techniques including 19F (fluorine) NMR spectroscopy.

She uses a biophysical approach to investigate a protein quality control mechanism that employs the co-chaperone SGTA. Janina hopes that by understanding more about the structure of this protein it will be possible to understand the mechanism by which cells sort ‘good’ from ‘bad’ proteins.

Janina explains she is inspired to work in this area because: ‘I am generally a very curious person who likes science and the logical approach it uses to discover new things. I think knowledge and education are among the most important assets of any society and my intention is to increase knowledge by doing fundamental research which is underlying many inventions and applications.’

Janina said: ‘I did not expect to win the prize because I did not have beautiful structures on my poster like other people and hardly anyone uses fluorine NMR in protein science and certainly no one at the meeting. Therefore I was really surprised to win the poster prize, but very happy that people liked my work.’

Janina will now move on to 2D fluorine NMR experiments in the hope to get even more structural information on the protein and its mode of interaction with substrates.