Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Research Associate (Synthetic Biology)







Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

6 results found

Banks AM, Whitfield CJ, Brown SR, Fulton DA, Goodchild SA, Grant C, Love J, Lendrem DW, Fieldsend JE, Howard TPet al., 2022, Key reaction components affect the kinetics and performance robustness of cell-free protein synthesis reactions, Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Vol: 20, Pages: 218-229, ISSN: 2001-0370

Cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) reactions have grown in popularity with particular interest in applications such as gene construct prototyping, biosensor technologies and the production of proteins with novel chemistry. Work has frequently focussed on optimising CFPS protocols for improving protein yield, reducing cost, or developing streamlined production protocols. Here we describe a statistical Design of Experiments analysis of 20 components of a popular CFPS reaction buffer. We simultaneously identify factors and factor interactions that impact on protein yield, rate of reaction, lag time and reaction longevity. This systematic experimental approach enables the creation of a statistical model capturing multiple behaviours of CFPS reactions in response to components and their interactions. We show that a novel reaction buffer outperforms the reference reaction by 400% and importantly reduces failures in CFPS across batches of cell lysates, strains of E. coli, and in the synthesis of different proteins. Detailed and quantitative understanding of how reaction components affect kinetic responses and robustness is imperative for future deployment of cell-free technologies.

Journal article

Whitfield CJ, Banks AM, Dura G, Love J, Fieldsend JE, Goodchild SA, Fulton DA, Howard TPet al., 2020, Cell-free protein synthesis in hydrogel materials, Chemical Communications, Vol: 56, Pages: 7108-7111, ISSN: 1359-7345

We report a method for embedding cell-free protein synthesis reactions in macro-scale hydrogel materials without a free liquid phase. This paper focuses on methods of preparation for a variety of hydrogels and an investigation of the impact that the hydrogel material has on cell-free protein synthesis.

Journal article

Banks AM, Song L, Challis GL, Bailey AM, Foster GDet al., 2020, Bovistol B, bovistol D and strossmayerin: Sesquiterpene metabolites from the culture filtrate of the basidiomycete Coprinopsis strossmayeri, PLoS One, Vol: 15, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 1932-6203

Basidiomycete fungi are a rich source of natural products with a diverse array of potentially exploitable bioactivities. Two dimeric sesquiterpenes, bovistol B (1) and D (2), and one monomeric sesquiterpene, strossmayerin (7), were isolated from the culture filtrate of the basidiomycete fungus Coprinopsis strossmayeri. The structures were determined through a combination of MS and 1D/2D NMR spectroscopic techniques. Likely monomeric precursors, identified on the basis of HRMS analysis, allow a plausible biosynthetic pathway to be proposed for the biosynthesis of 1 and 2, involving the dimerisation of the monomer through a hetero-Diels-Alder mechanism. A gene cluster, including a putative sesquiterpene 1–11 cyclase, was identified through phylogenetic and RNA-seq analysis, and is proposed to be responsible for the biosynthesis of 1 and 2.

Journal article

Banks AM, Aminuddin F, Williams K, Batstone T, Barker GLA, Foster GD, Bailey AMet al., 2019, Genome sequence of lecanicillium fungicola 150-1, the causal agent of dry bubble disease, Microbiology Resource Announcements, Vol: 8, Pages: 1-2, ISSN: 2576-098X

The fungus Lecanicillium fungicola causes dry bubble disease in the white button mushroom Agaricus bisporus. Control strategies are limited, as both the host and pathogen are fungi, and there is limited understanding of the interactions in this pathosystem. Here, we present the genome sequence of Lecanicillium fungicola strain 150-1.

Journal article

Banks AM, Barker GLA, Bailey AM, Foster GDet al., 2017, Draft genome sequence of the coprinoid mushroom coprinopsis strossmayeri, Genome Announcements, Vol: 5, Pages: 1-2, ISSN: 2169-8287

Coprinopsis strossmayeri is a coprinoid mushroom favoring the habitat of herbivore dung. As a result of this highly competitive environment, C. strossmayeri is anticipated to produce a wide array of antimicrobial secondary metabolites (SMs) of potential pharmaceutical importance. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of C. strossmayeri.

Journal article

de Mattos-Shipley KMJ, Ford KL, Alberti F, Banks AM, Bailey AM, Foster GDet al., 2016, The good, the bad and the tasty: The many roles of mushrooms, Studies in Mycology, Vol: 85, Pages: 125-157, ISSN: 0166-0616

Fungi are often inconspicuous in nature and this means it is all too easy to overlook their importance. Often referred to as the “Forgotten Kingdom”, fungi are key components of life on this planet. The phylum Basidiomycota, considered to contain the most complex and evolutionarily advanced members of this Kingdom, includes some of the most iconic fungal species such as the gilled mushrooms, puffballs and bracket fungi. Basidiomycetes inhabit a wide range of ecological niches, carrying out vital ecosystem roles, particularly in carbon cycling and as symbiotic partners with a range of other organisms. Specifically in the context of human use, the basidiomycetes are a highly valuable food source and are increasingly medicinally important. In this review, seven main categories, or ‘roles’, for basidiomycetes have been suggested by the authors: as model species, edible species, toxic species, medicinal basidiomycetes, symbionts, decomposers and pathogens, and two species have been chosen as representatives of each category. Although this is in no way an exhaustive discussion of the importance of basidiomycetes, this review aims to give a broad overview of the importance of these organisms, exploring the various ways they can be exploited to the benefit of human society.

Journal article

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