• Question: "The first is an experiment first used in 1940 called ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy. Using this experiment I can see how the enzymes that breakdown sugar and fat change in the heart. Enzymes are large proteins, which help either breakdown or build molecules such as sugar and fat. However, this can only be done on broken cells. Cells are the building block of every organ in your body. We need to break open the cells to look inside of them." Please could you ecplain this to me on much simpler terms? If I'm thinking of voting for you, I need to know what you're doing!! :P

    Asked by threestarwolfie to Mike on 18 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Mike Dodd

      Mike Dodd answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      Heya, I’m more than happy to explain my work a little more. I use this technique to look at enzymes in the body. Enzymes are found in every cell of the body. They are key to breaking down molecules such as sugar and fat. When you eat a meal, enzymes in your stomach breakdown your food into fat, sugar and a few other bits. Without them, we wouldn’t be alive. However, sometimes enzymes go wrong. This can be when the DNA (the bodies instruction booklet) becomes damaged. If the DNA is damaged in a place that would give the instruction of how to make a certain enzyme, then it will go wrong. Either the enzyme won’t be made (this is called a knockout) or will have a changed function, so that it doesn’t work. Most diseases are caused by damaged enzymes. If you just looked at a cell it would be impossible to know which of the thousands of enzymes has gone wrong. However, if your cells are having problems breaking down fat, then you know it would be a fat enzyme. You can then use the UV spectroscopy machine to look at each of the 4 enzymes used in fat breakdown and find which one has gone wrong. You can then hopefully find a drug that would help repair this enzyme.

      To get to an enzyme you need to break a cell. To break a cell, you use a small device that is like a kitchen blender. This mashes the cell up and releases all its contents, such as the enzymes and DNA. You can then use this mess of cell bits to run your experiments on the UV spectroscopy machine. I’m more than happy to explain what the UV machine does, if you comment, or send me another question. Hope that all makes sense and thanks for thinking about voting for me.