Ingenza’s Dr Stephen McColm is celebrating success after being awarded a PhD in chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Through an 1851 Royal Commission Fellowship, a scheme that funds innovative doctoral research with commercial potential, Stephen developed an enhanced DNA assembly approach based on the company’s proprietary inABLE® technology, and coupled this to mass spectrometry-based proteomics techniques and direct screening methods to identify organisms with improved process efficiency to speed up the manufacture of fuels, chemicals and new pharmaceuticals. An important part of this process was the development of a patent-pending, automation-friendly DNA assembly method that is now in use across the company to accelerate the engineering of organisms for sustainable bioprocesses.
“The opportunity to conduct a PhD research program through an 1851 Royal Commission Industrial Fellowship has been fantastic,” said Stephen. “It has enabled me to develop a project that is closely linked to industrial goals while also forging strong collaborations with academia. The fellowship gave me the freedom and funding to work towards a PhD embedded in industry, and still benefit from the expertise available within academia. This balance has been vital in the implementation of a fruitful and enjoyable research programme.”
Nigel Williams, Secretary of the 1851 Royal Commission, said: “We are delighted that Stephen’s Industrial Fellowship has been so successful. The outcome reflects precisely what these awards set out to do: enable industry/academia collaboration that results in an innovative product or process and the award of a higher degree. We are particularly keen to support SMEs such as Ingenza and wish them every success with the further development of this work, as well as offering our warmest congratulations to Stephen on the award of his PhD.”