The publication, the result of a thirteen week summer project with a team at the University of Cambridge, shows the structure of the PI4K protein, inhibition of which has been shown to block the lifecycle of the malarial parasite, thus helping to combat malaria.
“The structural biology of this protein is important in the design of drugs against malaria,” Alison explained. “If you can inhibit the protein you can block the replication of malaria so that it cannot survive within the blood or the liver. So understanding the proteins makes it easier to design drugs which act as inhibitors to the disease.”
Alison is particularly interested in structural biology, the understanding of proteins, and enjoys science which is applicable to particular health problems such as malaria.
Alison, whose family home is just outside Cambridge, applied to Oxford because of her love of science, particularly laboratory work. While at Wadham she has been tutored by Ben Berks and David Staunton. Her particular field of interest is crystallography which she describes as being “like black magic.”
The project was carried out at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge where Alison was working with postdoc John Burke. The publication Structures of PI4KIIIβ complexes show simultaneous recruitment of Rab11 and its effectors was accepted by Science in February and was published at the end of May 2014.
Having just completed her finals Alison plans to start work on her PhD at Cambridge, where she will be looking at a similar class of proteins involved in the cell changes relating to Diabetes.
A resident at Merifield this year, Alison is a keen Basketball player. She captained the University of Oxford 2nds team in her second year and was Vice President of the Oxford Basketball Club.