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11.10.2021: Meet Edmund Kunji - Recipient of the 2021 SURFE²R N1 Research Grant

Meet Edmund Kunji

Earlier this year, Nanion announced the SURFE²R N1 research grant, which gave applicants the opportunity to acquire a SURFE²R N1 instrument for a 9-month period; inclusive of consumables, training and consultation.

After a lenghty and throughout evaluation of the rather extensive number and variety of applications, the SURFE²R N1 grant evaluation committee Dr. Andre Bazzone, Dr. Cecilia George, and Dr. Maria Barthmes (Nanion Technologies) have come to a decision:

2021 SURFE²R N1 Research Grant Committe
(Dr. Andre Bazzone, Dr. Cecilia George, and Dr. Maria Barthmes)

We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of the proposals this year and we thank all of the applicants for putting in such a lot of time and effort in their applications. We had a very difficult job but we thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every one of the proposals. As such, we took the bold initiative to award an unprecedented four total winners! We would like to congratulate Jonai Pujol (Winner - Europe), Edmund Kunji (Winner - UK), Lei Zheng (Winner - North America), and Ronald Clarke (Winner - Australia)

We have created a plan to deliver the systems to their respective labs, which we hope will be later on this year and are excited for their respective research initiatives to begin. Additionally, we aim to provide external support to all applicants in the near future and have created a plan to provide local support from our offices in Europe, North America, Japan and China.

We look forward to supporting the Membrane Transporter Community and leading the way with all of your innovative ideas in the months to come.


Interview with Edmund Kunji, University of Cambridge, UK

211028 blog image Prof. Edmund Kunji Cambridge

Nanion:
Hi Edmund, congratulations on your win! What are you planning to do with SURFE²R N1 in your laboratory?

Edmund Kunji: “In our lab, we work on mitochondrial transport proteins, which are involved in the translocation of amino acids, carboxylic acids, fatty acids, co-factors, inorganic ions and nucleotides across the mitochondrial inner membrane. These transport steps are essential for many key cellular processes, such as oxidative phosphorylation of fats and sugars, amino acid catabolism, synthesis and interconversion, synthesis of iron sulphur clusters and haem, macromolecular synthesis, and heat production. Most substrates are charged and it is unclear how they are transported across the membrane in the presence of a large membrane potential. There are also several outstanding questions related to proton coupling, a process in which a substrate is transported together with a proton. We will measure charge movements directly with the SURFE²R to answer these unresolved questions.”

Nanion: Why did you apply for the SURFE²R N1 Grant?

Edmund Kunji: “The major reason for applying to the grant was that we do not have the capability to do electrophysiological measurements in our lab. The mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier was one of the first test proteins for the development of the solid surface membrane technology by Ernst Bamberg, Klaus Fendler and colleagues, which is at the basis of the SURFE²R. This grant will be a great opportunity to revisit those experiments and get a more detailed molecular view of these transport processes.“

Nanion: Which properties of the SURFE²R will be of benefit to your research?

Edmund Kunji: “There are a large number of projects in the lab that will benefit from using the SURFE²R, as many of the transport processes are not fully understood. The SURFE²R is fairly easy to use and will allow us to measure charge movements during transport using unlabeled substrates, which is a great advantage. In this way, we can address the outstanding questions with respect to the transport mechanism of these important membrane proteins.”

Read more about Edmund Kunji here


Watch The Video Announcement - Edmund Kunji (University of Cambridge)

Meet Lei Zheng - 2021 SURFE²R N1 Grant Recipient [North America]
Meet Jonai Pujol - 2021 SURFE²R N1 Grant Recipient [Europe]
Meet Ronald Clarke - 2021 SURFE²R N1 Grant Recipient [Australia]

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