The issue of the amount of plastic floating around our oceans and building up in landfill has been building in the public consciousness and media for some time now (is anyone still using plastic straws?).

Late yesterday evening, the University of Portsmouth released the news that one of it’s researchers, Professor John McGeehan, is at the forefront of a major breakthrough that could help tackle the problem of plastic waste.

Professor McGeehan and his team at the University of Portsmouth worked in conjunction with a team led by Dr Gregg Beckham at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

We can all play a significant part in dealing with the plastic problem, but the scientific community who ultimately created these ‘wonder-materials’, must now use all the technology at their disposal to develop real solutions. (Professor John McGeehan)

John has been with the University of Portsmouth since 2007 when he was appointed to a prestigious RCUK Fellowship. In 2012 he was promoted to Reader of Structural Biology and in 2016 he became Professor of Structural Biology and is the Director of the University’s Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS).

PROF-JOHN-McGEEHAN-in lab CREDIT Stefan Venter, UPIX Photography -
CREDIT Stefan Venter, UPIX Photography –

John’s area of research interest is in the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids and their complexes, combining X-ray crystallography with other biophysical methods.

Alongside his research, John has an active teaching role at the University at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is a Personal Tutor and Director of Studies for several PhD and MRes students.

You can find out more about John’s research and teaching by visiting his profile on the University’s Research Portal, and you can find out more about this particular discovery here.