Former PhD student studying mycolic acid, a biosurfactant in the cell wall of mycobacteria and the extracellular properties of Rhodococcus, a mycobacterium.
Photograph of Yu Pen.

Yu Pen is a graduate of National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, where he studied Chemical Engineering. He came to Sheffield to do his Ph.D. in 2006 in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering under the guidance of Dr Robert Edyvean, who has since retired. In fact Yu has something of a background in polymers, and Robert thought it would be a good idea to jointly supervise Yu with me. The bonus here is that we could integrate Yu's work with that of the Cell-Mineral Interface consortium. So. for this aspect of his work, Yu worked with Jason on the conformational properties of mycolic acid, which is not a polymer. Anyway, mycolic acid is a biosurfactant that is predominant in the cell wall of mycobacteria. The best known mycobacterium is that of tuberculosis, so we considered that. Later work involved the mechanical properties of Rhodococcus, another mycobacterium. Yu, using his knowledge of polymers, considered the extracellular substances of the bacteria as one would a polymer brush, and got a nice poublication out of this idea. Yu is pictured here with our wonderful quartz crystal microbalance. On Friday April 27, 2012 Yu successfully defended his thesis befire his examiners, Professor Yan Peng Ting (National University of Singapore) and Dr Martin Pitt (University of Sheffield). Because Yu had returned to Taiwan, his examination took place in Singapore. The exam was scheduled to coincide with a visit of Dr Pitt; we didn't fly him out especially.

Professor Yen Peng Ting


Y. Pen, Z. J. Zhang, A. L. Morales-García, M. Mears, D. S. Tarmey, R. G. Edyvean, S. A. Banwart, and M. Geoghegan "Effect of extracellular polymeric substances on the mechanical properties of Rhodococcus" Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1848 518-26 (2015)

Z. Zhang, Y. Pen, R. G. Edyvean, S. A. Banwart, R. M. Dalgliesh, and M. Geoghegan "Adhesive and conformational behaviour of mycolic acid monolayers" Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1798 1829-39 (2010)

M. Geoghegan, J. S. Andrews, C. A. Biggs, K. E. Eboigbodin, D. R. Elliott, S. Rolfe, J. Scholes, J. J. Ojeda, M. E. Romero-González, R. G. J. Edyvean, L. Swanson, R. Rutkaite, R. Fernando, Y. Pen, Z. Zhang, and S. A. Banwart “The polymer physics and chemistry of microbial cell attachment and adhesion” Faraday Discuss. 139 85-103 (2008)

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