Having gained a 1st class Degree from our undergraduate programme at CCCU, Tyler Howell-Bray joined us as a member of staff in September 2014, first as a University Instructor and more recently as a sessional Lecturer.
Her PhD research (conducted throughout her role as a University Instructor) focused on understanding the metabolic consequences of protein mis-folding. This research aimed to better understand the interactions of these troublesome promiscuous proteins on normal cellular functioning. Working with the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer’s yeast), this research bridged the gap between two fields, metabolomics and prion/amyloid biology.
Using metabolomics, Tyler’s research has utilised the powerful analytical techniques of Liquid Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy to capture the metabolic fingerprint of Yeast carrying the prion RNQ+. Using a variety of multivariate and bioinformatic analysis, this has given fresh insight into the implications of the presence of these misfolded proteins (RNQ+) on cellular functioning and on the role of the native form of this protein. Such information about the toxic effect of prions and other mis-folded proteins is crucial in our efforts to understand the cellular biology and biochemistry of crippling age onset disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
Tyler is due to submit her PhD thesis shortly and is currently preparing her research for publication. She would like to continue her research within the field of metabolomics, with a particular interest in the upcoming synthetic yeast genome release in 2019 and the potential to combine this tool with metabolomics and biochemical engineering to investigate disease states in the versatile and powerful model organism, S. cerevisiae.
Teaching and subject expertise
As an instructor she has assisted and run seminars within many of the modules offered, with a focus on chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and cellular biology.
As a Sessional Lecturer she has taught on the following modules,
Foundation Biology (level 0), Microbiology and Human Health (Level 4), Fundamental Chemistry (level 4), Applied Biological Chemistry (Level 6) as well as providing biochemistry lectures for our sport science MSc students.
During her time at CCCU Tyler has also worked in labs with volunteer, dissertation and master’s students. Disseminating her knowledge and supporting student learning is an area that Tyler is passionate about, and so in addition to her research and teaching, Tyler has successfully completed her PGCAP at CCCU, conducting her own pedagogic research based on peer mentoring schemes.
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy