Research Fellows Directory
Dr Janneke Balk
University of East Anglia
Iron and sulphur are two elements that are essential for life. Together, they form an extraordinary chemical catalyst with unique properties. The two elements have been proposed to have catalysed the origin of life, when iron and sulphur were abundant, and oxygen absent. Since then, most life forms have become dependent on iron-sulphur clusters. Proteins containing iron-sulphur clusters are essential for key biological processes, such as respiration, photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation. They are also used in DNA repair, and in hydrogen production. My research is to learn how these iron-sulphur clusters are made and inserted into proteins, with a particular focus on plants and algae. We have estimated that these green organisms contain more than 30 genes involved in assembling iron-sulphur proteins.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)