Dr. Jamie Hinks
Jamie is a graduate of Newcastle University, UK and has been at SCELSE since completing his PhD, which was awarded in 2012. He studied biology as an undergraduate, geochemistry at master’s level and environmental engineering for his PhD. He has an interest in anaerobes in general and is curious about extremophiles. Since joining SCELSE he has developed a number of research themes which include the following:
The interaction of organic polymers with the microbial cell envelope. This project focuses on the biotechnological applications of a group of synthetic conjugated organic polymers. To date these investigations have been framed in the context of novel antimicrobial compounds or as a means to modify microbial membranes to impart greater electrical conductivity or solvent tolerance for example. The current efforts are supported by two grants (totaling approximately $1.4 Million) and directly support three postdoctoral fellows and two PhD students. The project is carried out in close collaboration with the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and with the University of California Santa Barbara.
Studying electron transfer in the deep ocean has required the development of systems to study electrogenic bacteria at high pressure (10 – 120 Megapascals) here at SCELSE. Currently, this effort is supported by SCELSE seed funding but also plays into projects on deep-sea corrosion in the Asian School of the Environment. The main aim of this project is to address questions around the efficiency of environmental high-pressure electron transfer and how this relates to biological redox carriers and how it differs between organisms. This project supports one research fellow.
A microbial biosensor project, supported by seed funding from the sustainable earth office and later a commercial development funds, has led to the development of new chemistry that allows E. coli and Enterococcus faecalis to be detected electrochemically. Electrochemical detection is promising as it could expand the detection of pathogenic bacteria into a range of difficult matrices to ensure the safety of food and for diagnostic purposes.