Lab Members

Dr Rafael G da Silva – Principal Investigator

IMG_0007I’m a native of Porto Alegre, a city in the south of Brazil. I received a B.Sc. degree in Biology (2002) from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, and M.Sc. (2005) and D.Sc. (2008) degrees in Biochemistry from the same university, under the supervision of Dr Luiz Basso. After post-doctoral training (2008-2012) with Dr Vern Schramm at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, I worked at Pfizer in Connecticut, first as Senior Scientist, then as Principal Scientist (2012-2014). In 2015, I moved to Scotland as a research group leader at the University of St Andrews.

Teresa F G Machado – Chemistry (Criticat) PhD Student

teresa_machado_1I am from Portugal and studied at the University of Lisbon, where I graduated with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Biological Engineering. My Masters thesis project was developed in a research laboratory at the University of Twente, in the Netherlands. I am part of the CRITICAT EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre and my research project is focused on the catalytic mechanisms of cold- and warm-adapted 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenases.

Gemma Fisher – Biology (EASTBIO) PhD Student

I am from Glasgow and completed a BSc in Biochemistry at the University of St Andrews. I am now studying towards a PhD in Biology as part of the EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership. My research will elucidate the mechanism of P. arcticus ATP phosphoribosyltransferase with the aim to generate opportunities for protein engineering.



Ben Read – Biology (EASTBIO) PhD Student

Originally from the south-east of England, I came to the University of St Andrews where I completed my BSc in Biochemistry. I have continued at St Andrews to undertake a PhD in the da Silva lab as part of the EATBIO Doctoral Training Partnership. My project aims to elucidate the mechanism behind allosteric inhibition/activation of Acinetobacter baumannii ATP phosphoribosyltransferase, which has untapped antimicrobial potential.


John Nicholson – Lab Manager and Technician

I received a Chemistry degree from Fife College in Kirkcaldy and then did a postgrad course in Biochemistry and Molecular Modelling in St Andrews, run by Prof Ron Hay whom I worked for on various projects including microarrays until he left for Dundee. I then worked for Prof Martin Ryan on TMEV and then the FMDV replicon system before joining the da Silva lab. In total I have over 30 years experience in molecular biology and biochemistry.


Lab Alumni

Name – Position – Period – Current Post:

Dr Catherine Thomson – PhD student – 2015-2019 – Consultant at Deloitte (Edinburgh)

Dr Pamela Sweeney – Postdoc – 2018-2021 – Scientist at Crescendo Biologics (Cambridge)