Posted on 8 May 2019
Dr Alison Parkin has been named winner of the prestigious Edward Frankland Fellowship from the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of her work on advancing the understanding of the molecular basis of oxygen tolerance in hydrogenase enzymes.
The research recognised by the award is inspired by how nature can use the energy from the sun to produce hydrogen from water. This could ultimately yield a carbon-free fuel, which is compatible with existing natural gas networks and boilers and can also be used as a transport fuel in cars. The problem is that the naturally occurring biological systems do not work in high oxygen levels, and so sustained hydrogen-production is impossible. At the University of York, the Parkin group develops new chemical tools to probe hydrogen-production enzymes from bacteria to work out how to make them continue producing hydrogen in high levels of oxygen.
On receiving the Edward Frankland Fellowship, Dr Parkin said: “I am honoured to receive this prize in recognition of my group’s hard work. I feel very lucky to be celebrating success in doing a job that I love.”
In winning the award, Dr Parkin also receives £2,000 and a medal. Dr Robert Parker, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, commented: “Over the years, our lives have been significantly improved by the chemical sciences, from medicines and food to the environment itself. We are proud of the contribution the chemical sciences make to our global community, which is why it is right for us to recognise important innovations and expertise such as these.”