Many bacteria can utilize extracellular substrates, such as Fe(III) oxides, as terminal electron acceptors to their respiratory chains.
In the case of Gram-negative dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria (DMRB), such as Shewanella and Geobacter, this process involves passing electrons across the outer membrane of the cell.
In addition to DMRB, some bacteria, such as Fe(II) and Mn(II) oxidizing bacteria, can transfer electrons into the cell from extracellular electron donors in order to produce reducing equivalents (e.g. NADH). The ability to transfer electrons across the outer membrane has made these bacteria of interest for their potential exploitation in microbial fuel cells, biosensors and microbial electrosynthesis.
Dr Marcus Edwards carried out his PhD at the John Innes Centre (2005-2009) where he resolved the mode of action of a novel antibiotic produced by Streptomyces. Following his PhD he moved to the University of East Anglia for his postdoctoral work (2009-2020), where he worked on both U.S Department of Energy and BBSRC funded projects resolving the mechanisms of bacterial extracellular electron transfer in Shewanella.
He joined the School of Life Sciences as a lecturer in July 2020 where he is now in the process of establishing a group to study novel bacterial electron transfer pathways of both environmental and biotechnological interest. More generally, his interests lie in utilising a combination of protein biochemistry, molecular biology, electrochemistry and structural biology to study both soluble and membrane proteins so as to understand how they perform their function(s).