Alan Stewart was recently in Xining, Qinghai Province, China, where he delivered seminars in two Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institutes. These included the North West Institute of Plateau Biology, where he was bestowed the honorary position of Guest Professor. This is in part due to a new collaborative award of ¥400,000 from CAS to Dr Ruitao Yu, an Associate Professor at the Institute and former Visiting Scholar in the Stewart Group. During this new project, Dr Yu will spend another 3 months in Dr Stewart’s lab to examine the serum albumin binding characteristics of medicinally relevant natural products. Also whilst in Xining, Dr Stewart delivered a Keynote Lecture at a High-End Forum focussed on medicinally-relevant natural products and their usefulness for treatment of cardiovascular disease. Dr Stewart’s trip to China was funded by the Administration of Foreign Experts of Qinghai Province.
The Leverhulme Trust have awarded a grant of £342,867 to Dr Claudia Blindauer, Dr Hugo van den Berg (both University of Warwick) and Dr Alan Stewart for a project entitled “A qualitative framework linking extracellular zinc speciation and cell uptake”.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient that participates in almost every major biological process. The health and wellbeing of humans and other mammals depends on well-regulated distribution of zinc among the tissues of the body. However, how this regulation is achieved is not fully understood. This new project will explore the hypothesis that uptake of zinc into cells is actively controlled by the zinc-binding capacity of major zinc-binding proteins in blood plasma. This will be achieved by combining biological, chemical, and mathematical methods. This exciting new project will provide crucial new information on an overlooked component of mammalian zinc homeostasis.