Professor Leslie Dutton FRS
Leslie Dutton is a pioneering biochemist who researches how oxidoreductase enzymes control the electron transfer process that underpins all biological functions. He was the first to reveal key details of this process in bacteriochlorophyll — a pigment found in bacteria that are able to photosynthesise. Leslie’s goal is to create artificial enzymes for use in medicine or as alternative energy sources.
During the electron transfer process, rather than ‘hopping’ as particles from one molecule to another, electrons ‘tunnel’ as a quantum wave. Natural selection means that oxidoreductase enzymes have evolved to exploit this process efficiently. Leslie builds artificial proteins that mimic different parts of these enzymes to discover how they achieve this.
The fundamental importance of Leslie’s research has been recognised with many awards. These include the Keilin Medal of the Biochemical Society and, most recently, the John Scott Award, which is presented for inventions that significantly contribute to the comfort, welfare and happiness of humankind.