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Our Research Community

The Biophysical Sciences Institute is a community of excellent interdisciplinary academics.

Our strength stems from the diversity of our academic community, with members spanning career stages, academic disciplines and with a variety of entrepreneurial roles. Our members are listed below and our shared areas of research, both established and emerging can been seen using the link below.
Our Research
Researcher using micropipette


Professor Carrie Ambler, Department of Biosciences & LightOX

Areas of Expertise: Animal Cells and Systems 

Research Interests: Collaborative, multi-disciplinary approaches to tackling wound repair, cancer and antimicrobial resistance.


Dr Ander Andershorst-Roberts, Department of Physics

Areas of Expertise: Soft Matter Physics

Research Interests

  • Rheology
  • Microrheology
  • Assembly and Mechanics of Cytoskeletal Networks
  • Biopolymers
  • Hydrogels


Professor Colin Bain, Department of Chemistry

Areas of Expertise: Complex Fluids and Interfaces 

Research Interests

  • Colloid and interface science
  • Inkjet printing of functional films
  • Fundamentals and applications of droplet drying


Dr Robert Banks, Department of Biosciences      

Areas of Expertise: Neurobiology, Structure and Function of Sensory Receptors in Muscle

Research Interests

  • Mechanosensory transduction
  • The role of synaptic-like vesicles in the sensory endings of mechanoreceptors
  • The roles and importance of mitochondria in mechanosensory nerve endings, and why they are so abundant in them


Dr Aakash Basu, Department of Biosciences       

Areas of Expertise: Biomolecular Interactions, Genomics, Single-molecule Biophysics 

Research Interests

  • Deciphering the mechanical code of the genome and epigenome
  • Understanding how sequence-encoded mechanical properties of DNA encode regulatory information


Dr Ulrike Bechtold, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Plant Cell Biology     

Research Interests

  • Plant stress responses
  • Signalling pathways
  • Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation
  • Post-translational modifications
  • Comparative genomics
  • Evolution of genomes and quantitative trait architecture


Dr Ulrik Beierholm, Department of Psychology 

Areas of Expertise: Computational Neuroscience             

Research Interests: How the nervous system deals with uncertainty, whether in perception, decision making or learning.


Professor Adam Benham, Department of Biosciences    

Areas of Expertise: Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Immunology         

Research Interests

  • Oxidative folding of secretory proteins in the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
  • Protein chaperone function
  • Antigen processing and presentation by the immune system


Professor Tim Blower, Department of Biosciences           

Areas of Expertise: Microbiology, Genomics, Biochemistry, X-ray Crystallography 

Research Interests

  • Toxin-antitoxin systems
  • Bacteriophage-resistance
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Bacteriophage biology
  • Phage defence 


Dr Alessandro Borghi, Department of Engineering

Area of Expertise: Biomedical Engineering, Biomechanics

Research Interests

  • Biomechanics
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Biological Tissue Characterisation
  • Biomaterials
  • Medical Image Processing
  • Surgical planning
  • Medical Devices
  • Machine Learning


Dr Stefan Borsley, Department of Chemistry

Area of Expertise: Supramolecular Chemistry, Nonequilibrium Systems

Research Interests

  • Nonequilibrium chemistry
  • Ratchet mechanisms
  • Compartmentalisation
  • Gradient-driven systems


Dr Francesco Boselli, Departments of Biosciences and Engineering

Areas of Expertise: Bioengineering and Biological Physics

Research Interests

  • Biological Fluid Mechanics 
  • Tissue Mechanics
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Live Imaging
  • Cilia; Embryonic Heart; Inner Ear  


Professor Martin Cann, Department of Biosciences                       

Areas of Expertise: Biochemistry

Research Interests

  • Carbon dioxide sensing 
  • Bacterial death 


Dr Paul Chazot, Department of Biosciences & Nevrargenics

Areas of Expertise: Neuroscience, Chronic Pain, Pharmacology 

Research Interests: Identifying and validating novel drug targets and prodromal bio- and behavioural-markers for a range of common chronic neurological and metabolic pathologies.  


Dr Peter Chivers, Department of Biosciences      

Areas of Expertise: Bioinorganic Chemistry 

Research Interests: Molecular determinants of microbial metal homeostasis.  


Professor Steven Cobb, Department of Chemistry            

Areas of Expertise: Synthetic Chemistry, Peptoid and Peptide Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Peptide and peptoid chemistry
  • Antimicrobials
  • Anticancer
  • Bio-organic fluorine chemistry


Dr Vincent Croset, Department of Biosciences   

Areas of Expertise: Neurobiology, (Single-cell) Transcriptomics, Behaviour 

Research Interests: Effects of nutritional state and drugs of abuse on neuronal physiology, gene expression and behaviour.


Dr Timothy Davies, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Cell Division 

Research Interests

  • Variation in cell division requirements
  • elegans development
  • Cytoskeletal structure and dynamics 


Dr Matteo T. Degiacomi, Department of Physics               

Areas of Expertise: Molecular Dynamics, Machine Learning, Computational Biophysics    

Research Interests: The development of protein-protein docking methods, and techniques combining machine learning and molecular dynamics simulations to sample protein conformational spaces. 

Dr Jingjing Deng, Department of Computer Science

Area of Expertise: Computer Vision, Machine Learning
Research Interests
  • BioMedical Image Analysis
  • Computer Vision
  • Deep Neural Networks
  • Machine Learning


Professor Paul Denny, Department of Biosciences           

Areas of Expertise: Cell Biology, Parasitology, Lipid Biochemistry               

Research Interests

  • Protozoan sphingolipid biosynthesis
  • Antileishmanial therapeutic discovery
  • Antileishmanial mode of action deconvolution
  • Molecular diagnostics for protozoan infections 


Dr Karrera Djoko, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Metals in Biology 

Research Interests

  • The impact of metal availability on microbial physiology
  • How microbes respond to changing metal availability
  • How host organisms influence metal availability to host-associated microbes


Dr David Doupé, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Stem Cells, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Drosophila melanogaster 

Research Interests

  • Epithelial stem cell regulation 
  • Stem cell live intravital imaging 
  • Epithelial homeostasis and ageing 


Professor Suzanne Fielding, Department of Physics         

Areas of Expertise: Soft Condensed Matter Physics 

Research Interests

  • Flow instabilities and flow-induced phase transitions 
  • Fluid-fluid demixing 
  • Viscoelastic turbulence 
  • Soft glassy rheology 
  • Biologically active suspensions


Dr Allegra Franchino, Department of Chemistry

Area of Expertise: Catalysis, Synthetic Chemistry, Mechanistic Studies, Bioactive Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Merging transition-metal and organocatalysis for selective synthesis
  • Asymmetric catalysis targeting bioactive compounds, carbo- and heterocycles
  • Design of bifunctional ligands and catalysts
  • Non-covalent interactions and supramolecular systems
  • Mechanistic studies of catalytic reactions (kinetics, modern physical organic chemistry, NMR spectroscopy)


Dr Lian Gan, Department of Engineering  

Areas of Expertise: Fluid Mechanics, Vortex Dynamics

Research Interests

  • Pulsatile and periodic flows
  • Vortex dynamics in cardiovascular system
  • Flow structure interaction in cardiovascular system
  • 4D flow MR 


Professor John Girkin, Department of Physics    

Areas of Expertise: Advanced Photonics and Optical Technologies 

Research Interests

  • Advanced optical microscopy
  • Development of microfluidic technologies to study biological systems
  • Developing novel non-invasive tools for diagnosis


Dr Tim Hawkins, Department of Biosciences       

Areas of Expertise: Molecular Cell Biology

Research Interests

  • Combining high-resolution imaging with mechanical manipulation and modelling in both animal and plants cells
  • Characterisation of members of the NET family of plant actin binding proteins which link the actin cytoskeleton to district membrane compartments 


Dr Sarah Heaps, Department of Mathematical Sciences 

Areas of Expertise: Bayesian Modelling and Inference, Bayesian Time-series Analysis             

Research Interests

  • multivariate time-series modelling of neuroscience data
  • stochastic modelling of time-course metagenomic data
  • statistical modelling of crystallization outcomes


Professor Jonathan Heddle, Department of Biosciences                       

Areas of Expertise: Bionanoscience and Biochemistry

Research Interests

  • Design and assembly of artificial protein nanostructures
  • Natural nanomachines: Investigation of topoisomerases, specifically DNA gyrase
  • Development of DNA-based programmable nanomachines
  • Aging


Professor David Hodgson, Department of Chemistry           

Areas of Expertise: Physical Organic Chemistry, Synthetic Chemistry.

Research Interests

  • Nucleosides and Nucleotides
  • Fluorination
  • Understanding Reactivity through Kinetics
  • Bioconjugation


Dr Ostap Hryniv, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Areas of Expertise: Probability and Stochastic Processes 

Research Interests

  • Phase transitions
  • Interacting particle systems
  • Large deviations
  • Stochastic modelling 


Professor Colin Jahoda, Department of Biosciences         

Areas of Expertise: Developmental Biology; Animal Cells and Systems, Stem Cells 

Research Interests

  • Adult hair growth and skin wound healing
  • Skin regeneration and replacement
  • Production of 3D in vitro skin and cornea models 
  • Transdifferentiation of epithelial stem cells
  • Human hair follicle induction 


Dr Rahele Kafieh, Department of Engineering

Areas of Expertise: Biomedical image and signal processing, Artificial Intelligence

Research Interests

  • Medical Data Analysis
  • Machine learning / Deep Learning
  • Image Processing and Computer Vision
  • Data Acquisition and Management
  • Time-frequency methods
  • Dictionary learning
  • Data Quality Assessment


Dr Akis (Iakowos) Karakesisoglou, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Animal Cell Biology, Disease

Research Interests

  • Linker of the Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton complex (LINC) cell biology 
  • The role of the cytoskeleton and spectrin-family of proteins in cell architecture and disease 
  • Breast cancer and skin mechanobiology 
  • Breast cancer diagnostics 
  • Premature (HGPS) and physiological human ageing (emphasis on skin and epithelial cell biology [RPE, Hepatocyte, breast, intestine]) 
  • Laminopathies, nesprinopathies, muscle disorders, motor neuron disease (ALS) and Alzheimer’s 


Professor Ritu Kataky, Department of Chemistry              

Areas of Expertise: Electrochemistry, Sensors  

Research Interests

  • Developing sensors and biosensors for environmental, clinical and pharmaceutical monitoring
  • Detection and Destruction of Biofilms on soft and hard surfaces


Dr Ciara Keating, Department of Engineering

Area of Expertise: Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics

Research Interests

  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology and ‘Omics methods
  • Soil and Plant Health
  • Waste Treatment Systems
  • Anaerobic microbiology


Professor Ashraf Khir, Department of Engineering

Areas of Expertise: Physiological Fluid Mechanics, Artificial Hearts/ Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD). 

Research Interests

  • Arterial waves
  • Arterial stiffness – wave speed - PWV
  • Non-invasive physiological hemodynamic ultrasound measurements
  • Wave intensity analysis (WIA)
  • Arterial wall mechanics
  • Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP)
  • Design of continuous and pulsatile flow blood pumps
  • Mock circulatory loops


Dr Matthew Kitching, Department of Chemistry 

Areas of Expertise: Synthetic Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry & Functional Molecules 

Research Interests

  • Enantioselective Synthesis of Chiral Ammonium Centres
  • Smart droplets


Professor Heather Knight, Department of Biosciences    

Areas of Expertise: Molecular Plant Cell Biology 

Research Interests

  • The roles of genes in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana that determine the plant’s level of tolerance to freezing stress
  • Physical and mechanical properties of plants that determine freezing resistance


Professor Marc Knight, Department of Biosciences          

Areas of Expertise: Plant Molecular Cell Biology, Plant Signalling                

Research Interests: How stress information is encoded in calcium responses and how this is decoded by plants to produce the appropriate survival response. 


Dr Andrew Krause, Department of Mathematical Sciences           

Areas of Expertise: Mathematical and Computational Modelling 

Research Interests

  • Pattern formation in developmental biology 
  • Reaction-diffusion systems 
  • Spatial population dynamics 
  • Nonlinear dynamical systems 


Professor Halim Kusumaatmaja, Department of Physics                

Areas of Expertise: Soft Matter, Biophysics 

Research Interests

  • Wetting on structured surfaces 
  • Membrane biophysics
  • Liquid-liquid phase separation 
  • Multi-stable elastic structures 
  • Colloidal self-assembly 
  • Droplet microfluidics 


Dr Alison Lane, Department of Psychology          

Areas of Expertise: Clinical Neuropsychology 

Research Interests

  • Concussion / sub-concussive head impacts 
  • Neurorehabilitation 
  • Visuospatial attention 


Dr Ting-Yu Lin, Department of Biosciences

Areas of Expertise: Structural Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology

Research Interests

  • Structural and biochemical analyses of pseudouridine synthases
  • RNA modification
  • RNA Biology 


Professor Keith Lindsey, Department of Biosciences       

Areas of Expertise: Plant Molecular Cell Biology, Plant Signalling 

Research Interests: Identification of plant intracellular signalling molecules - roots and development 


Dr Junli Liu, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Systems biology  

Research Interests: Hormone and Calcium Signalling in Plants. 


Dr Clare Mahon, Department of Chemistry         

Areas of Expertise: Polymer Chemistry, Molecular Recognition, Biological Chemistry 

Research Interests

  • Development of sensors and diagnostics for bacterial disease 
  • Design of polymeric materials for use in biomedicine 
  • Improving understanding of biodegradation 


Professor Alistair McGregor, Department of Biosciences

Areas of Expertise: Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Animal Cells and Systems 

Research Interests

  • Genetic regulation of development, 
  • Morphological evolution in animals, 
  • Genome evolution and duplicated gene fate, 
  • The evolution and specificity of Wnt ligands 


Dr Jonathon McPhetres, Department of Psychology

Areas of Expertise: Psychophysiology, Systems Biology 

Research Interests: Using biological models to understand social behaviours and higher levels cognitions.


Dr Liz Morris, Department of Biosciences             

Areas of Expertise: Structural biology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Virology 

Research Interests

  • Enzyme mechanisms
  • Protein-protein and protein-nucleotide interactions involved in virus replication 


Dr Billy Moses Jr., Department of Computer Science

Area of Expertise:  Theoretical foundations of distributed computing

Research Interests

  • Distributed algorithms
  • Biologically inspired computing
  • Peer to Peer networks
  • Movement and computing, especially involving mobile agents on a graph


Dr Patricia Muller, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Biochemistry, Metalloproteins, p53, Cancer, Cell Engulfment  

Research Interests

  • Role of metals in regulating p53 function
  • Mutant p53 function in cancer 


Professor Marko Nardini, Department of Psychology     

Areas of Expertise: Visual and multisensory perception 

Research Interests

  • Perceptual and Cognitive development
  • Perception with New Sensory Signals


Professor AnnMarie O'Donoghue, Department of Chemistry 

Areas of Expertise: Physical Organic Chemistry, Catalysis, Synthesis, Kinetics and mechanism, Kinetic acidity and pKa determination 

Research Interests

  • Synthetic organocatalysis and biocatalysis 
  • Mechanistic studies of organocatalysis and biocatalysis 
  • Enzyme mechanisms 
  • Synthesis and applications of stable organic radicals 


Dr Lars-Olof Pålsson, Department of Chemistry 

Areas of Expertise: Chemical physics, Biophysics 

Research Interests

  • Sensing surfaces based on fluorescent Langmuir-Blodgett films 
  • Electronic energy transfer in photosynthetic systems 


Professor Bernard Piette, Department of Mathematical Sciences              

Areas of Expertise: Mathematical Physics and Biophysics 

Research Interests

  • Mathematical modelling of biological systems
  • Geometries of nano-bio-materials 
  • Electron-phonon interaction in nano-systems 


Dr Denis Patterson, Department of Mathematical Sciences 

Area of Expertise: Nonlinear Dynamics, Stochastic Analysis, and Mathematical Modelling

Research Interests

  • Mathematical Ecology: Vegetation Models
  • Mathematical Modelling: Developmental Biology
  • Mathematical Epidemiology: Malaria 


Professor Ehmke Pohl, Departments of Biosciences and Chemistry & Nevrargenics

Areas of Expertise: Structural Biology 

Research Interests

  • Structure-based drug design focusing in infectious diseases
  • High-throughput screening for drug discovery


Dr Christopher Prior, Department of Mathematical Sciences       

Areas of Expertise: Magnetohydrodynamics, Topological Constraints 

Research Interests

  • Magnetohydrodynamics
  • Solar physics
  • Protein dynamics
  • Biological filament elasticity and topological constraints


Professor Stefan Przyborski, Department of Biosciences & Reprocell

Areas of Expertise: Bioengineering Human Tissues, Development and Translation of Advanced Cell Technologies, Cell and Tissue Differentiation in Health and Disease, 3Rs – Developing Alternatives for Animals in Research 

Research Interests

  • Human cell culture and building tissue equivalents 
  • Design and application of cell culture plasticware 
  • Bioreactor development and construction 
  • Device design and prototyping 
  • Cell and tissue differentiation methods 
  • Cell / tissue imaging and molecular analysis 
  • Commercialisation of technology and company development/operation 
  • Working at the industrial interface 


Dr Susan Pyner, Department of Biosciences        

Areas of Expertise: Signalling and Animal Cell Systems 

Research Interests

  • Autonomic regulation and neuroanatomy
  • Tracing studies and immunocytochemical analysis of brain regions involved in cardiovascular homeostasis


Dr Lena Riabinina, Department of Biosciences                       

Areas of Expertise: Neuroscience, Genetics, Sensory Ecology

Research Interests

  • Mosquito olfactory neurobiology
  • Mosquito vision 
  • Evolution of chemical signals in mosquitoes
  • Bumblebee olfactory neurobiology and ecology
  • Olfaction of Black soldier flies
  • Development of genetic tools for insects


Professor Nigel Robinson, Department of Biosciences    

Areas of Expertise: Cell Biology of Metals 

Research Interests

  • Protein metalation 
  • Metal homeostasis 
  • Industrial biotechnology 


Professor Ari Sadanandom, Department of Biosciences 

Areas of Expertise: Molecular Plant Sciences 

Research Interests: Polypeptide tags: Protein Modification systems such as Small Ubiquitin-like MOdifiers (SUMO) and their roles in plants' resilience under a changing climate. 


Dr Rebecca Senior, Department of Biosciences  

Areas of Expertise: Conservation, Ecology, Quantitative Tools & Technology

Research Interests: The use of quantitative tools and technology to understand the drivers of biodiversity loss.


Dr Gary Sharples, Department of Biosciences     

Areas of Expertise: Microbiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology

Research Interests

  • Antibacterial mechanism of action of chelating agents, clay minerals, antibacterial surfaces and other novel antibacterial compounds.
  • Bacteriophage recombinases


Dr Margarita Staykova, Department of Physics  

Areas of Expertise: Biophysics, Biological Membranes, Functional Interfaces, Living Materials 

Research Interests

  • The mechano-sensitive architecture and composition of the cell interface
  • Cell-cell adhesion, encapsulation
  • Bio-hybrid systems
  • Bacterial growth 


Professor Patrick Steel, Department of Chemistry

Areas of Expertise: Synthetic Chemistry, Chemical Biology 

Research Interests

  • Synthesis and Application of Boronic Acids 
  • Fragment based Drug Discovery 
  • Chemical Probes 
  • plant chemical biology - plant hormonal signalling pathways and crop protection agents 
  • Parasite chemical biology: leishmaniasis and T. cruzi


Professor Anne Taormina, Department of Mathematical Sciences            

Areas of Expertise: Biological Applications of Mathematics

Research Interests

  • Group theory and applications to mathematical biology
  • String and conformal field theory


Dr Lore Thaler, Department of Psychology           

Areas of Expertise: Human Psychophysics, Psychoacoustics, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) 

Research Interests

  • Sensory neuroplasticity 
  • Blindness 
  • Human echolocation 


Dr Adam Townsend, Department of Mathematical Sciences        

Areas of Expertise: Applied & Computational Mathematics, Mathematical Biology 

Research Interests

  • Development of mathematical and computational techniques to investigate complex fluids  
  • Non-Newtonian fluid mechanics 


Professor Kislon Voitchovsky, Department of Physics     

Areas of Expertise: Biological Physics, Experimental Soft Matter 

Research Interests

  • Solid-liquid and soft interfaces at the nanoscale
  • Interfacial phenomena 
  • Ionic effects 
  • Emergence of mesoscale order


Dr David Weinkove, Department of Biosciences & Magnitude Biosciences

Areas of Expertise: Animal Cells and Systems, Ageing, Microbiome, Automated Analysis of Ageing

Research Interests: Study of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans to gain insights into basic biological processes such as ageing and host:microbe interactions.


Professor Darren Wilkinson, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Area of Expertise: Bayesian Statistical Inference and Computational Systems Biology

Research Interests

  • Computational approaches to inference and inverse problems
  • Molecular systems biology modelling and inference
  • Stochasticity and heterogeneity in (model) biological systems
  • Advanced statistical modelling and machine learning for big data problems in (meta)genomics


Dr Chris Willcocks, Department of Computer Science     

Areas of Expertise: Computer Science 

Research Interests: Deep generative modelling, such as diffusion probabilistic models and normalising flows, with applications in unpaired domain translation, anomaly detection, physics, biology and chemistry.


Professor J.A. Gareth Williams, Department of Chemistry            

Areas of Expertise: Synthetic Chemistry, Metal Complexes, Luminescence and Bio-imaging 

Research Interests

  • Luminescent sensors for bioactive ions and molecules in solution 
  • New sensors for magnesium ions with improved selectivity over calcium 
  • Development of new chelating agents based on naturally occurring siderophores 
  • Phosphorescent molecules for visible and NIR-light-emitting devices