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York biochemist wins prestigious Early Career Research Award

Posted on 13 March 2014

Dr Glyn Hemsworth, of the York Structural Biology Laboratory (YSBL) (Department of Chemistry) has won a prestigious Early Career Research Award of the Biochemical Society, in the theme area of Biotechnology (2015).

Glyn Hemsworth

These awards recognise the impact of research carried out by early career scientists (with no more than five years’ postdoctoral research experience) who have produced international-quality research outputs, and demonstrate aspirations consistent with the potential to achieve world-leading status. The awards are structured to recognise the breadth of science across the Biochemical Society's Theme Panels (calls for nominations are made on a two-year cycle across eight theme areas).

Glyn’s recent publications include papers in Nature (‘A discrete genetic locus confers xyloglucan metabolism in select human gut Bacteroidetes’ - J Larsbrink et al., Nature 2014,  506, 498-502) and Nature Chemical Biology (‘Discovery and characterization of a new family of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases’ - G R Hemsworth et al., 2014. Nature Chem Biol., 10, 122-126).  He is currently working for Professors Paul Walton and Gideon Davies (Chemistry) on a €2.3m ERA Industrial Biotechnology-funded project, CESBIC (“Critical Enzymes for Sustainable Biofuels from Cellulose”), led by York and involving collaborators in Cambridge, Denmark and France.

Glyn’s research focuses on carbohydrate-active enzymes and their component domains, notably those involved in xyloglucan degradation and biomass conversion.  He has performed extensive structural and spectroscopic investigation of the newly-discovered copper-dependent lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases.  Having completed his PhD at the University of Sheffield under the supervision of Professor Peter Artymiuk, he joined YSBL in 2009 and worked for Professor Keith Wilson on the structural biology of dUTPases and other nucleoside enzymes from Leishmania and Trypanosoma (an EC-funded project), before joining the Davies group in 2012.

Notable recent winners of the Biochemical Society’s Early Career Research Awards include Dr Alison Parkin of the Department of Chemistry (2013, Energy and Metabolism) and YSBL PhD graduate Dr Tracey Gloster (2012, Molecular Structure and Function).