May 04th 2015 – Stewart Barker, University of Sheffield

Stewart BarkerI am a first year PhD student working in the Department for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, at the University of Sheffield, UK. Although I love all areas of science, my true passion is for the field of Microbiology. For my PhD I am investigating cell surface proteins of Gram positive bacteria. Much of my time involves using E. coli to try and express the proteins I am interested in. However as I am also trying to solve molecular structures, I get to use biophysical techniques such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, which is tough, but I really enjoy a challenge!

As an undergraduate, at Sheffield Hallam University, I carried out two short pieces of original research, both centred on the delivery of antibiotics related to orthopaedic surgery (particular joint replacements. As a result of this successful work, I have recently been published in a peer-reviewed journal as first author. This was a huge challenge and something I am very proud of! The paper can be found here:

When I’m not researching, I am busy working as a science communicator, tweeting from my personal account @Stewart_Barker, and from the Society for Applied Microbiology’s (SfAM) account (@SfAMTweets). I also write a blog, MicrobeStew (, talking mainly about Microbiology, and also discussing issues in science and talking about careers, academia and science education. I also sit on the SfAM Postgraduate and Early Career Scientist committee, as their Communications Officer.

Please give my twitter account @Stewart_Barker a follow, have a look at my blog, and I look forward to talking to you all about my work and my experiences as an early career microbiology researcher.


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