Peter Smyth

Postgraduate Research Student
School of Life Sciences
 Peter Smyth



I am a PhD student on beamline I24 at Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron, with the Hough group at the University of Essex. My research involves developing time-resolved crystallography methods, for investigating protein structural dynamics by creating molecular movies of proteins undergoing reactions. I am using these methods to investigate the function of several radiation-sensitive metalloproteins, including cytochromes c' from methanotrophs. These bacterial haem proteins bind gas molecules and play roles in the global nitrogen cycle.


  • MSci Biochemistry University of Bristol (2019)

Research and professional activities


Serial and time-resolved crystallography of metalloproteins

X-ray crystallography is an important biological research technique, and has provided most of the structures in the Protein Data Bank. An inherent challenge of crystallography is that the X-rays that produce diffraction images also cause damage to the crystal, resulting in loss of diffraction quality as the absorbed dose increases. To minimise this effect, in the last 15 years, serial crystallography techniques have been developed. Serial crystallography spreads dose over many crystals, collecti

Supervisor: Prof Michael Hough , Dr Robin Owen (Diamond Light Source)

Research interests

Serial crystallography

Serial crystallography collects data from thousands of crystals, rather than a single crystal, allowing structures to be collected at room temperature, with few artefacts of radiation damage present. You may want to provide a description of your research interest.

Time-resolved crystallography

Time-resolved methods provide data from short-lived intermediates in a biological reaction, to investigate structural dynamics of proteins.

Methanotroph cytochromes c'

These haem proteins from methanotrophic bacteria are involved in gas binding, and have roles in the global nitrogen cycle.



Colchester Campus