Professor of Biological Chemistry
Nick Le Brun graduated in 1990 with a first class degree in Chemistry from UEA. Supported through a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship, he remained at UEA to begin his research career in the area of bioinorganic chemistry under the guidance of Prof Andrew Thomson, FRS OBE and Prof Geoff Moore. He gained his PhD in 1993, and continued his research in the School through a Wellcome Trust Fellowship. In 1996, he moved to the Department of Microbiology, Lund University, Sweden to take up an EMBO Fellowship, in the laboratory of Prof Lars Hederstedt. In 1999 Nick was appointed as Lecturer in biological chemistry at UEA, and subsequently appointed as Senior Lecturer (2006-2009), Reader (2009-2011), and Professor (2011 – ).
Proteins that contain metal ions (metalloproteins) constitute a diverse and hugely important group. By utilising and fine-tuning the wide range of physical and chemical properties exhibited by metal ions, they fulfil many essential roles in many cellular processes. Nick’s research interests lie in understanding how bacterial cells handle essential metal ions, the pathways by which metal-containing proteins are assembled, and the reactivities associated with metalloproteins.
Nick’s research has been funded over the past few years by BBSRC, The Wellcome Trust and EPRSC. He was a member of the BBSRC Pool of Experts (2009-2010) and served as a core member of BBSRC Committee D: Molecules, Cells and Industrial biotechnology from 2010-13. Since 2010, Nick has been Director of the UEA Centre for Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, and from 2014 he is Chair of the UK’s Inorganic Biochemistry Discussion Group (IBDG, an Interest Group of the RSC). In 2015-16 he was a member of RSC Dalton Council and was the Chair of the organising committee for the Dalton 2016 meeting. Nick was on the editorial board of Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry (JBIC) from 2014-17 and is currently an editor for Microbiology.
In 2018 Nick was the recipient of the RSC’s Joseph Chatt Award, in recognition of his contributions to the understanding of molecular mechanisms of bacterial gene regulation by environmental levels of oxygen, nitric oxide and iron employing iron-sulfur clusters.