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© St John’s Laboratory 2017 , Knowledge Dock Business Centre, University Way, London, E16 2RD, UK
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Scientist of the Month - May Byron Baron


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This June, Dr. Byron Baron from the University of Malta, Malta, is our Scientist of the Month! He's shared with us his research highlights, his current projects and some comments on the biotechnology industry.

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Scientist of the Month - May Byron Baron

  1. 1. © St John’s Laboratory 2017 , Knowledge Dock Business Centre, University Way, London, E16 2RD, UK T: +44 (0”208 223 3081 F: +44 (0)207 681 2580 E: W: Scientist of the Month Please could you describe your academic background to date. Bachelor in Biology and Chemistry (2002-2006), Ph.D in Cell Biology (2006-2011), Post-doc (2012-2014), Academic (2015-present). Please could you describe a bit about the research field you work in now and how you got to where you are? My current research is in Heat Shock Protein (HSP) lysine methylation. During my Ph.D. I identified an interaction with, at that time, an uncharacterized methyltransferase enzyme, METTL23, which I then continued to study during my post-doc. As the main focus for my independent research I then decided to start investigating the methylation of HSPs. What are you going with your research? I'm aiming to improve the understanding of the contexts in which HSPs are methylated and how these can be used as biomarkers for specific conditions. What issues do you see in the future of the industry? Like all post-translational modifications, methylations (including of non-histone proteins) will also be included in the list of tools used for diagnostics. What changes in the industry you would like to see and why? It would be nice to see more collaboration between the companies and the end-users in the development and testing of antibodies to make them more appropriate for the desired applications and reliable. What responsibilities do you think you have vs companies? I think both researchers and suppliers should be doing their utmost to validate the products being used in research. The suppliers should not sell products which waste research time and money but researchers should ensure that every batch is up to the required standard and adequate for the desired application. What do you think about the current situation of the biotech industry? The biotech industry is strongly pushing forward in developing and marketing products which can act as alternatives to traditional biotech products but costs are still rather prohibiting for small research groups due to the technology required. What do you think researcher should be doing to improve the quality of the science produced? Scientists should focus less on writing "a story" for their research to be published by journals which are only after the journalistic sensationalism and more on putting out unbiased data sets which can be used by the scientific community to build stronger molecular mechanisms based on evidence from a variety of sources and techniques. Do you have any scientific reference papers you would like our readers to see? Reiff, R.E., Ali, B.R., Baron, B., Timothy, W.Y., Ben-Salem, S., Coulter, M.E., Schubert, C.R., Hill, R.S., Akawi, N.A., Al-Younes, B. and Kaya, N., 2014. METTL23, a transcriptional partner of GABPA, is essential for human cognition. Human molecular genetics, p.ddu054 2002 BSc in Biology and Chemistry 2006 PhD in Cell Biology 2012 Post-Doc 2015 Academic in University of Malta