Defying the British Summer

The group has welcomed a couple of new members, and had to say goodbye to others - in usual good form the time together was celebrated defying the British Summer(Inc.) with a lovely BBQ.


New article published in Science

A novel NMR technique developed in Oxford to study the interactions between cells and pathogens such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2 has been published in Science today.
Congratulations to our DPhil student Charlie Buchanan, who is first author on this paper. The team around this work is made up of researchers from Oxford Chemistry and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Discovery, as well as collaborators in the Wellcome Institute Centre for Human Genetics and the Rosalind Franklin Institute, led by the Baldwin, Davis and Naismith groups.

The groups were able to confirm a novel binding mode between the spike protein on the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and specific sialoside (sugar) residues on proteins inside lung cells. As SARS-CoV-2 mutated, the more infective variants (alpha, beta, delta, omicron) lost this binding function. The method devised can robustly, rapidly, and quantitatively analyse these interactions for a range of systems, including those previously inaccessible to existing NMR methods.

The article is open access and can be read online here.

Relaunch of website and move to Kavli

Kavli Interior - Stairway
We are happy to announce a relaunch of our website, coinciding with our move to the Kavli Institute of NanoScience Discovery.
Leading scientific discovery into the most basic unit of life, the cell, in its myriad of environments,
the Kavli Institute for NanoScience Discovery (Kavli INSD), located at the heart of Oxford University’s science area, was inaugurated in March 2021.

With over 30 faculty and 450 research staff and graduate students, world leading teams from
structural biology, biochemistry, pathology, chemistry, physics, physiology and engineering collaborate to significantly contribute to global health.

We are tremendously happy to be part of this collaboration.

Top thesis prize for Reid Alderson

Congratulations to Reid Alderson, who was awarded the overall graduate prize in the medical sciences division for 2018 for his thesis.

Poster prize for Gogs

Poster prize for Gogs at the ICMRBS in Dublin

Congratulations to Dr. Olga Tkachenko

Congratulations to Olya for successfully defending her Thesis after an excellent DPhil. Her examiners were Dr. John Christodoulou from UCL, and Dr. Lorna Smith.

Nature Chem paper selected by F1000

Tim’s paper on the melting of nucleic acid duplexes by membraneless organelles has been selected by the F1000 as recommended reading. Thanks to M Madan Babu for putting it forward!

ACS 2017

Andy gave a talk as part of the coacervate session at the 253rd ACS meeting in San Fransisco.

Biophysics 2017

Andy gave a talk as part of the intrinsically disordered proteins subgroup Saturday at the 61st Annual meeting in New Orleans.

JRF for David

David has been elected a JRF and pembroke college. Congratulations David!

Congratulations to Dr. Mike Barber

Congratulations to Mike, who successfully defended his thesis today! His examiners were Prof. Mark Wormald from Oxford’s Department of Biochemistry and Prof. Louise Serpell from the University of Sussex.

We wish Dr. Barber best of luck in his future endeavours!

Congratulations to Dr. Iva Pritisanac

Congratulations to Iva, who successfully defended his thesis today! Her examiners were Prof. Christina Redfield from Oxford’s Department of Biochemistry and Prof. Guy Lippens from the University of Toulouse.

We wish Dr. Pritisanac best of luck in his future endeavours!

Olga and Henrik attend the 2016 ICMRBS

Olga and Henrik will both be in Kyoto, Japan, for this year’s International Conference on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems. Olya will be giving a talk in the session on Biomolecular Interactions and Henrik will be presenting a poster. Congratulations!

UCSF award from Oxford Innovations

The lab has been awarded a University Challenge Seed Fund (UCSF) award from Oxford University Innovation.


Mike submitted his PhD thesis

Congratulations to Mike for writing and submitting his PhD thesis!

Tim awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship

Tim has been awarded the prestigious Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust! This 5-year fellowship will enable Tim to start his own group in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, and continue his research on membraneless organelles.

Read more about Tim’s appointment in Biochemistry here and more about the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship here

Well done, Tim, and congratulations!

Gogs' part II thesis is published and featured on the front cover

Congratulations to Gogs for the publication of his part II thesis in Chemical Communications! Read the article here and check out the inside front cover art above.

Membraneless organelles and nucleic acids paper published

Tim’s paper on the melting of nucleic acid duplexes by membraneless organelles has been published in Nature Chemistry. Read the associated News and Views article here and an Editors’ Choice article in Science here. Congrats, Tim!

Andy gives a talk at the Astbury Centre

Andy gave a talk at the 2016 Astbury Conversation held at the Astbury Centre at the University of Leeds, alongside other speakers including Prof. Lewis Kay and Nobel laureate Prof. Michael Levitt.

Congrats, Andy!

Talks for Iva and Andy

Iva and Andy both gave talks at an NMR Symposium sponsored by ZoBio that was held in Leiden, the Netherlands, alongside other speakers including Prof. Peter Güntert, Prof. Alexandre Bonvin, Prof. Vladislav Orekhov, and Prof. Geerten Vuister. Congratulations!

Prize for Andy

Andy has been awarded the 2016 BRSG-NMRDG award for ‘excellence in magnetic resonance’. Congrats, Andy!



Our recent paper on membrane less organelles has been selected as recommended by the F1000.

David Dias

David Dias is joining the group as a postdoctoral researcher. David joins us coming over from Cambridge.

Christmas Dinner 2015

We enjoyed a Christmas Dinner at Andy’s house! Thanks to the group for a cracking 2015.

Talks for Henrik and Reid

At the 26th Molecular Chaperone Club at Queen Mary University, London, UK, 14.12.2015, Henrik and Reid gave oral presentations.

Congratulations chaps!

JRF for Tim

Tim was just awarded a JRF at New College! Congratulations, Tim!

Gogulan Karunanithy joins the group

After a cracking part II Gogs is staying with the group for a DPhil!

Part IIs 2015

We welcome this year Rachel Lee to the group! She will be supervised by Tim during her part II project.

Talk for Iva

Iva gave a talk at the Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research at Utrecht University. Congrats, Iva!

Andy leads GRC session on Protein Dynamics

Andy has been selected to lead the session on Protein Dynamics at the 2015 Gordon Research Conference on Computational Aspects in Bimolecular NMR. Congrats, Andy!

Talk for Reid

Reid was selected to give an oral presentation at the 2015 Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on Computational Aspects in Biomolecular NMR, a competitive research conference held in Italy. Congratulations Reid!

Prize for Olga

Olga was one of six prize winners selected by the audience at the EMBO Conference with the topic 'Molecular chaperones: From molecules to cells and misfolding diseases'. The conference took place in Heraklion, Greece, over 5 days in May 2015 and featured 50 talks and 129 posters. Congratulations Olya!

Reid Alderson

Reid Alderson, a student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked with John Markley at NMRFAM, will join the group for a DPhil starting in October 2014.

Part II thesis prize for Ben

Well done to Ben Girling for getting the Part II thesis prize!

Membraneless Organelle Paper Published

We’ve recently published a paper on membraneless organelles in Molecular Cell. A number of compartments exist in the cell that are not distinguished by membranes, including the nucleolus and Cajal bodies. We show in this work that the formation of one of these bodies is the result of a Flory-Huggin’s phase transition, and is a consequence of a very specific charge patterning of its chain. By having blocks of positive charge, housing aromatic residues, flanked by blocks and negative charge (and vice versa), phase separation (above a critical concentration, at the right salt concentration) is an inevitability. This is a neat example of important phenomena in biology having its footing firmly in polymer theory.

Part IIs 2014

We’re delighted to welcome into the group Adam Marsden, Gogulan Karunanithy and Anna Van Der Zalm, starting September 2014.

And congratulations to Ben Girling and Elodie Limer for a successful year and getting their reports done!

Lipid Paper Published

An exciting paper on lipids has just been published in Nature. This is the culmination of a huge amount of work, particularly by Art Laganowsky and Eamon Reading in Carol Robinson’s group. In this work, it is demonstrated that specific individual lipid binding events can change the structure and the function of membrane proteins. This remains a tricky thing to measure, but this paper establishes a rigorous mass spectrometry method for quantitatively determining the binding. This requires statistical strategies to deal with the stochastic fluctuations inherent to molecules that are being introduced to the gas phase.

CPMG Paper published

Completed while the spectrometer was dead last year, here’s a paper on CPMG. There are a number of formula to describe the CPMG experiment in the limit of 2 site exchange, perfect pulses and in-phase magnetisation. The most enduring is that of Carver and Richard’s, penned in Oxford in the 1970s, correct in the limit pb<resources section.

Easter Dinner 2014

Group roast Easter 2014 :) at Andy’s house.
Conclusion: well fed group == happy group

Christmas Dinner 2013

Group Xmas Roast 2013 :) at Andy’s house
(giant turkey)

JRF for Henrik

Congratulations to Henrik for being awarded a JRF at Pembroke College!

Elodie Limer

Elodie Limer is joining the group from October 2013 for a part II project.

Mike Barber

Mark Barber, a student from the University of Leeds, is starting a DPhil in the group from October 2013.

Olga Tkachenko

Olga Tkachenko, a student from Cambridge University, is coming to start a DPhil, October 2013.

Iva Pritšanac

Iva Pritšanac, a student from the University of Zagreb and Utrecht University, is coming to the group to start a DPhil in October 2013. She completed her Master’s with research in the groups of Alexandre Bonvin and Marc Baldus, and finished an Erasmus exchange project in the laboratory of Nenad Ban at ETH Zurich.

Henrik Müller

Henrik Muller, a postdoc from Germany is joining the lab, as of July 2013.

Harrison Meldola

Andy was awarded the Harrison-Meldola medal from the RSC for 2013. Congrats Andy!

Postdoc postions available

We have a number of postdoc positions available. For more information, please click here.

A number of Part II projects are also available. Please get in touch for information.

Chemistry & Biology paper highlighted

Our paper on deconvoluting the polydispersity of the complexes formed between sHSPs and target proteins has been highlighted by a feature article by Christine Slingsby and Alice Clark, long-time collaborators of ours from Birkbeck College at UCL.

C&E News Feature

C&E News published a cover article this week about the emerging role of mass spectrometry for structural biology. This featured our recent paper in Structure, describing the interconversion of αB-crystallin oligomers and their likely structures.

Textbook material

Florian’s PNAS paper on the quaternary dynamics and heterogeneity of the sHSPs has been featured in the new edition of the text book Biochemistry by Garrett and Grisham to illustrate the role of these chaperones in protein homeostasis.

Structure paper published

Our paper describing likely structures of αB-crystallin, based on a polyhedral architecture has been published in Structure. This was the culmination of our combining mass spectrometry data with that from NMR (a collaboration with Justin Benesch and co), and also included cross-validation by electron microscopy (Lindsay Baker and John Rubinstein).

Keystone talk

Andy is giving a talk at this years Keystone conference, Structural Biology of Cellular Processes: from Atoms to Cells (J6), in Colorado.

Back-to-back papers in J. Mol. Biol.

Our articles on the dynamics of αB-crystallin were published back-to-back in the Journal of Molecular Biology this week. They are the product of our collaboration with Justin Benesch, and were highlighted both on the cover, and in a commentary article by John Carver.

Lewis' birthday

“Special issue as a tribute to Lewis E Kay on his 50th birthday”
Gardner KH, Mittermaier A, Mulder FAA
J Biol. NMR (2011) 51:3-4 pdf

A present to Lewis Kay from some of his old boys :)

Native states are metastable?

At long last, we’ve published our paper on Amyloid fibril thermodynamic stability. This paper is significant in that we have strong thermodynamic evidence that the native, functional state of a range of common human proteins is not the thermodynamically favoured state, as is conventionally thought. Instead, these proteins can lower their free energy by forming amyloid fibrils. This paper has some exciting consequences. For example, proteins must aggregate and form fibrils slowly in order for a biological organism to function. Also, kinetic mechanisms to prevent proteins from aggregating, such as molecular chaperones, are crucial for survival.

This work has been described in a commentary by Devarajan Thirumalai and Govardhan Reddy in Nature Chemistry.