"I worked with Dr J. Viles for my final year project, examining Cu2+ binding and structural properties of fragments/mutants of the Amyloid-beta, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. I learnt to use the spectroscopic technique of Circular Dichroism (CD) and to interpret CD spectra. Data that I obtained whilst doing my project is now published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The project was very interesting, and inspired me to go on to do a PhD."

- Rebecca Nadal (BSc, 2002)


Above is an example of one of the CD spectra I obtained during my project, investigating metal interactions with the Amyloid-beta peptide of Alzheimer's Disease.

"During my 3rd year project, I learnt how to operate CD, Fluoresecence and UV-Vis spectrometers and got lots of interesting results, that I was able to publish in a paper! I'm now doing a PhD in Dr. Viles' lab"

- Mark Klewpatinond (BSc, 2004)

Above is an example of one of the CD spectra I obtained during my project, investigating metal interactions with the Prion protein.





The 3rd year project (equivalent to 2 course units) is probably your first taste of research and adds meaning to your degree. This is the time when you discover if you want to do research in future and enables you to gain various skills and techniques.


What is required?

25 full days in the lab (2 days a week during Semester A)

15 min. talk at Project Symposium (Semester B Week 7)

Project Report in Week 12 (10,000 words, or 25 pages of double spaced text, excluding diagrams)

Oral Exam

How do you make your choice?

1) What skills do you want to learn?
2) What area of Biochemistry are you interested in?
3) Does the project sound interesting?
4) Do you want to be guided by the lecturer or mostly by postdocs?

Research in My Lab

Staff: Post-doctral workers and PhD students

Two main research themes
BBSRC Funding for

Structural Biology of the Prion Protein.

The role of copper and zinc in amyloid formation and Alzheimer’s Disease

What area of Biochemistry will you become familiar with?

Protein Structure and function

Circular Dichroism

Protein Bio-inorganic chemistry


Specific Skills and Knowledge you will Acquire:

Process of research
Operate a spectrometer: CD, NMR, UV-Vis
Process and interpret spectroscopic data
Confident with concentrations and dilutions (Molar, moles, g/L)
What you will not learn:
Protein Expression and purification, or Gene manipulation.

Transferable Skills
File transfer and storage
Manipulation of data using spread sheet software
Graph packages and presentation
Oral presentation skills
Written presentation skills



Email John Viles