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Nigel Shaun Scrutton (born 2 April 1964) FRSB FRSC is a British biochemist known for his work on enzyme catalysis and biophysics. He is Director of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), a post he has held since 2010,[2] and Professor of Enzymology and Biophysical Chemistry in the School of Chemistry at the University of Manchester.[2]

Nigel Scrutton

Image of Nigel Scrutton (MIB Director) taken in 2015
Nigel Shaun Scrutton

(1964-04-02) April 2, 1964 (age 55)
ResidenceUnited Kingdom
Alma mater
  • FRSC (1996)
  • FRSB (2009)
  • Colworth Medal (1999)[1]
  • RSC Charmian Medal (2002)
  • RSC Cornforth Award (2009)
  • RSC Interdisciplinary Prize (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsBiological Chemistry, Biophysics, Biotechnology, Synthetic Biology, Quantum Biology
ThesisMechanistic and structural studies on glutathione reductase by protein engineering (1988)
Doctoral advisorRichard Perham

Early life and educationEdit

Scrutton was born in Batley, West Yorkshire and was brought up in Cleckheaton where he went to Whitcliffe Mount School. Scrutton graduated from King's College London with a first class Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry in 1985. He was a Benefactors' Scholar at St John's College, Cambridge where he completed his doctoral research (PhD) in 1988 supervised by Richard Perham.[3][4] He was a Research Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge (1989–92) and a Fellow / Director of Studies at Churchill College, Cambridge (1992–95). He was awarded a Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in 2003 by the University of Cambridge.

Career and researchEdit

Following his PhD, Scrutton was appointed as Lecturer (1995), then Reader (1997) and Professor (1999) at the University of Leicester before being appointed Professor at the University of Manchester in 2005. He has held successive research fellowships over 29 years from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 (1851 Research Fellowship), St John's College, Cambridge, the Royal Society (Royal Society University Research Fellow and Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award), the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). He has been Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) and Cardiff University (UK), and Adjunct Professor at VISTEC (Thailand) and Beijing University of Chemical Technology (China).

He has made major contributions to the study of enzyme catalysis, the mechanisms and structures of enzymes and the photochemistry of photoreceptor proteins. His group has pioneered investigations that have led to both deep understanding and recognition of the general importance of quantum tunnelling and protein dynamics in enzyme H-transfer and conformational ensemble sampling in electron transfer reactions. This has involved the development of new biophysical approaches for reaction kinetics analysis including kinetic isotope effect studies, their integration into structural and computational programmes, and extension of theory. He has also made important contributions to enzyme kinetics, coenzyme chemistry, protein engineering, directed evolution, synthetic biology, biological engineering, biocatalysis and metabolic engineering,[2][5][6][7][8] including the first rational redesign of the coenzyme specificity of an enzyme[5], the establishment of automated microorganism bioengineering platforms for the production of chemicals (e.g. fuels, materials, active pharmaceutical ingredients) and the discovery of new riboflavin cofactors.

His research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.[9] the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research Global, the European Union (Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development) and other industry / charity funders. He has supervised about 60 students for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] about 50 postdoctoral research workers. He has published over 430 research papers and several patents.

In 2015 Scrutton co-founded the company C3 Biotechnologies Ltd to commercialise technologies for fuels and chemicals production using synthetic biology. He is Director of the Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre SYNBIOCHEM, which he established in 2014 following major investment by the UK government in synthetic biology. He is also Director of the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub established in 2019, which is developing new technologies to accelerate bio-based manufacturing in the UK in three key sectors – pharmaceuticals, chemicals and engineering materials. He has served on several national committees, including research council / funding committees (BBSRC, EPSRC, Royal Society) and strategic advisory boards / scientific steering groups (e.g. Science and Technology Facilities Council).

Awards and honoursEdit

Scrutton was awarded the Colworth Medal in 1999[1] from the Biochemical Society; the Enzyme Chemistry Award (Charmian Medal) from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2002; the Rita and John Cornforth Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2009; the Interdisciplinary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2019.

Scrutton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 1996; a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) in 2009; a Member of the Lister Institute in 2004.

He is recipient of a number of academic awards including: Sambrooke Exhibition Prize (King's College London, University of London, 1983); William Robson Prize (King's College London, University of London, 1985); Benefactors' Scholarship (St John's College, University of Cambridge, 1985); Henry Humphreys Research Prize / Research Fellowship (St John's College, University of Cambridge, 1989).


  1. ^ a b Scrutton, N. S. (1999). "Colworth Medal Lecture. Enzymes in the quantum world". Biochemical Society Transactions. 27 (6): 767–79. doi:10.1042/bst0270767. PMID 10830100.
  2. ^ a b c "New director for Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre". University of Manchester. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  3. ^ Scrutton, Nigel Shaun (1988). Mechanistic and structural studies on glutathione reductase by protein engineering (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 557267794.
  4. ^ "Nigel Scrutton". University of Manchester. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b Scrutton, Nigel S.; Berry, Alan; Perham, Richard N. (1990). "Redesign of the coenzyme specificity of a dehydrogenase by protein engineering". Nature. 343 (6253): 38–43. Bibcode:1990Natur.343...38S. doi:10.1038/343038a0. PMID 2296288.
  6. ^ Masgrau, L. (2006). "Atomic Description of an Enzyme Reaction Dominated by Proton Tunneling". Science. 312 (5771): 237–241. Bibcode:2006Sci...312..237M. doi:10.1126/science.1126002. PMID 16614214.
  7. ^ Basran, Jaswir; Sutcliffe, Michael J.; Scrutton, Nigel S. (1999). "Enzymatic H-Transfer Requires Vibration-Driven Extreme Tunneling". Biochemistry. 38 (10): 3218–3222. doi:10.1021/bi982719d. PMID 10074378.
  8. ^ Scrutton, Nigel S.; Raine, Andrew R.C. (1996). "Cation-π bonding and amino-aromatic interactions in the biomolecular recognition of substituted ammonium ligands". Biochemical Journal. 319 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1042/bj3190001. PMC 1217726. PMID 8870640.
  9. ^ Anon (2016). "UK Government Grants awarded to Nigel Scrutton". Swindon: Research Councils UK. Archived from the original on 2016-03-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Adalbjörnsson, Björn Vidar (2012). Thermophilic old yellow enzyme : structure and kinetic characterisation (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  
  11. ^ Guerriero, Andrew (2012). Variable pressure NMR analyses to assess compressive motion in PETNR and catalytically germane PETNR:Ligand complexes (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  
  12. ^ Hare, Victoria (2012). PETN reductase as a versatile biocatalyst for the reduction of nitroalkenes (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  
  13. ^ Hulley, Martyn (2010). Engineering of the PETNR active site to accommodate novel α/β substituted enone substrates (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  
  14. ^ Lou, Xiao (2010). Biochemical and structural studies of human methionine synthase reductase (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  
  15. ^ Peers, Martyn (2013). Ruthenium(II) and iridium(III) complexes as photosensitisers towards light-driven biocatalysis (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  
  16. ^ Russell, Henry (2013). Infrared and UV-visible time-resolved techniques for the study of tetrapyrrole-based proteins (PhD thesis). University of Manchester.  

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