Dr Felicity Currie

Research Associate in Microbial Biotechnology


Location

Room W0079 Cromore Road Coleraine Co. Londonderry BT52 1SA

Telephone

Overview

Dr. Felicity Currie joined The Microbial Biotechnology Research Group at Ulster University where she leads our research into the microbial production of propane. Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) - a mixture of propane and butane traditionally derived from oil refining - is an essential off-grid fuel source for rural communities and business. Biopropane is a ‘drop-in’ biofuel that could decarbonise European energy needs, achieving up to 80% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to fossil LPG.

Background

Felicity holds an honours degree in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, an MSc in Chemoinformatics, and a PhD in Microbial Metabolomics. Following graduation, Felicity worked for an extended period at the National Centre for Biological Standards and Control, where she studied the carbohydrate chemistry of microbial capsular polysaccharides and lipopolysaccharides, which are components of vaccines. This was followed by a period in industry, working with Xenova Ltd., in natural products research. Following her PhD, Felicity held a post-doctoral research post at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, where she established the MS and data analysis pipeline for biomarker discovery studies in infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis and Malaria. Her current research focuses on identifying naturally-occurring microbial pathways for propane biosynthesis, and fermentation optimization for a commercially viable route to biopropane production. Away from microbiology Dr. Currie is a keen sailor and ornithologist, in her spare time volunteering at The RSPB Bird Centre on Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Manchester 2011.
  • Master of Science, University of Sheffield 2002.
  • Bachelor of Science, Loughborough University 1984.

Research

Recent Research Grants

Invest NI Proof of Concept Award 2020 Biopropane

Within this project we aim to identify a commercially viable fermentation process for the production of bio-propane from sustainable feedstocks. The key innovation is that we are using naturally-occurring biopropane producing microorganisms from the environment, well adapted for the biosynthesis of propane leading to a robust fermentation rote at a commercial scale. The work focuses on fermentation optimization and scale-up.

SHV Energy Industrial Collaboration 2018-2019

This project, funded by Calor Gas Ltd. and its parent company SHV Energy, focused on the identification of microbial systems capable of propane biosynthesis. To date, no naturally-occurring pathways for propane biosynthesis have been reported and the discovery is both exciting and novel.

Studentships

CAST 2020 Award Naturally-occurring microbial biosynthetic pathways for propane (Calor Gas Northern Ireland)

Within this PhD project we aim to investigate the microbial biosynthetic pathways for propane through a series of metabolomics and transcriptomics studies.

Publications

In preparation

Felicity Currie, Warwick B. Dunn, David I. Broadhurst, Yun Xu and Royston Goodacre Altered phospholipids in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 UWC1 exposed to propranolol.

Relevant publications

1. Felicity Currie, David I. Broadhurst, Warwick B. Dunn, Christopher A. Sellick and Royston Goodacre (2016). Molecular Biosystems 12: 1367-1377

2. Patel SA, Currie F, Thakker N, Goodacre R. (2008). Analyst 133:1707-1713.

3. Morrison N, Bearden D, Bundy JG, Collette T, Currie F, Davey MP, et al. (2007) Metabolomics 3: 203-210.

4. López-Díez E.C., Winder C.L., Ashton, L., Currie F. & Goodacre R. (2005) Analytical Chemistry 77, 2901-2906.

5. Hazel Sharp, David Thomas, Felicity Currie, Colin Bright, Zahid Latif, Satyajit D Sarker et al. (2001) Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 29(3), 325-327.

6. M. Stewart, B. Bartholomew, F. Currie, D.K. Abbiw, Z. Latif, S.D. Sarker et al.  (2000) Fitoterapia 71, 595-597.

7. Christopher Jones, Felicity Currie, Mark J. Forster (1991) Carbohydrate Research 221, 16 -121.

8. C. Jones, F. Currie (1991) Biologicals 19, 41-47.

9. Christopher Jones, Felicity Currie (1988) Carbohydrate Research 184, 279-284.