How did this collaboration come about?
The project is supported by the Newton Fund
. This is a research and innovation partnership fund which promotes the sharing of knowledge and resources across participating countries. The programme gives researchers an opportunity to address their research challenges and provide economic development or welfare to their country of origin. We were fortunate to have our proposal accepted and worked with Diamond to identify the right approach to meet our research challenges.
What have the challenges been? Any surprises?
One of the challenges we encountered was that between experiments various samples became oxidised; this required us to study a larger batch of samples to secure reliable data.
After data processing, we were able to determine the structure and bonding between atoms of iron and its surrounding atoms. However, contrary to our predictive models, the surrounding atoms in some sample structures showed different bonding behaviours. We therefore needed to be careful when analysing our data, in order to establish a new model and obtain the detailed structural information.
What have been your key findings?
We were able to study the bonding between iron-porphyrin (chlorophyll) and nitrogen atoms and also discover a number of differences between the samples.
What learnings will you take back from this trip to Diamond?
We gained some great skills from our trip to Diamond. Not only did we learn about the work practices at the synchrotron, we also got hands-on experience of performing an EXAFS experiment. In addition to using the beamline equipment, we also got chance to build data analysis skills using programmes such as Athena and Artemis.
Do you have any advice for other organisations wanting to collaborate with Diamond through the Newton Fund?
Organisations will receive many benefits from participating with Diamond through the Newton funding programme
. As well as access to advanced research instruments and data processing software, you will have the opportunity to build hands-on research skills and knowledge from Diamond’s expert scientists. Moreover, the Newton fund
will support you in the associated travel/accommodation costs whilst in the UK.
To participate, organisations need to provide a proposal outlining their work and the perceived impact of the project.
So, what are your next steps?
Now we have completed our experiments at Diamond, we will return to Thailand and continue our data analysis. From the results obtained, we will develop and modify our heme substitute for use within the meat analogue industry.