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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Cell Dynamics

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A microtubule motor protein is important for the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton in the Drosophila female germline. Aberrant
A microtubule motor protein is important for the organisation of the actin cytoskeleton in the Drosophila female germline. Aberrant "blobs" of filamentous actin can be found in oocytes without the motor protein Kinesin-1. Each Z section is colour coded

Chromosome Biology and Cytoskeletal Networks

Our research is focussed upon fundamental cellular processes that underpin normal cellular homeostasis and are perturbed in specific diseases. Our research questions aim to understand the biophysics of cells during development, the role of nutrition and epigenetics in developmental plasticity and determine the mechanisms by which chromosomes are segregated during cell division.

We also exploit the DNA repair capacity of parasites to aid their eradication and determine the fundamental basis of cellular aging and memory. We have expertise using a wide range of model systems including human cells, drosophila, bees, trypanosomes and yeast and interact with a number of industrial partners including Exscientia, Carl Zeiss, MSD, Sosei Heptares, Abcam, Imsol, SunRegen and Singer Instruments™.

Photosynthesis, Bioenergetics and Microbial Physiology

Our research focuses on the chloroplasts of plants, algae and diatoms, their free-living relatives the cyanobacteria, and other prokaryotes. We explore the regulation of photosynthetic light-harvesting and electron transport, light perception and responses and prokaryotic cell biology and physiology. We aim to understand the dynamic processes occurring in bacteria and in eukaryotic organelles using approaches ranging from molecular dynamics simulations to imaging by fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy, combined with spectroscopy, biochemistry and molecular genetics. We have links with industrial concerns including Opti-Sciences Inc and Heinz Walz GmbH.

Simulation of the interaction of light with a single 3 micron cell of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 showing how the cell acts as a microlens
Simulation of the interaction of light with a single 3 micron cell of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 showing how the cell acts as a microlens

Movement of cells of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 in response to light.


Researcher Title Department

Research Interests

Bessant, Prof Conrad  Professor of Bioinformatics Biochemistry

Bioinformatics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, Software development, Data integration

Draviam, Prof Viji Professor of Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology, Director of Industrial Innovation Biochemistry

Video Microscopy, Cell division, Cancer Biology, Aneuploidy, Human cell biology

Duffy, Dr Christopher  Lecturer in Cellular and Molecular Biology  Biochemistry  Light-harvesting, Photosynthesis, Computational Biology, Molecular physics, Xanthophylls 
Engl, Dr Christoph  Lecturer in Microbiology  Biochemistry  Molecular cell biology, Bacterial adaptation, Ribosome function, Bacterial plant-growth promotion, Single-cell & single-molecule imaging 
Hanke, Dr Guy  Senior Lecturer in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology  Biochemistry  Photosynthesis, Electron transport, Protein-protein interaction, Cell biology, Synthetic biology 
Mullineaux, Prof Conrad  Professor of Microbiology, Head of Cell and Molecular Biology Department  Biochemistry  Photosynthesis, Electron transport, Cyanobacteria, Fluorescence imaging, Membrane dynamics, Bacterial cell biology 
Ojkic, Dr Nikola Lecturer in Microbiology  Biochemistry Bacterial cell shape and size control, antibiotic resistance
Palacios, Dr Isabel

Lecturer in Cell Biology

Biochemistry Cell biophysical function of cytoskeletal forces, Proteins during germline development
Ruban, Prof Alexander  Professor in Biophysics  Biochemistry  Photosynthesis, Light harvesting, Light adaptation memory, Structural dynamics, Genetics 

Subramanian, Dr Lakxmi

Lecturer in Biochemistry / Physiology  Biochemistry

Centromeres, Chromatin, Chromosome segregation, Kinetochores, Yeast genetics

Thorpe, Dr Peter

Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry Biochemistry

Yeast genetics, Genomics, Chromosome segregation, Kinetochores


N. Ojkic, D. Serbanescu, S. Banerjee: “Antibiotic resistance via bacterial cell shape-shifting”, mBio, 13 (3), e00659-22 (2022)

G. Benn, I. Mikheyeva, P. Inns, J. Forster, N Ojkic, C. Bortolini, M. Ryadnov, C. Kleanthous, T. Silhavy, B. Hoogenboom, “Phase separation in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli”, PNAS, 118, 44 (2021)

S. Banerjee, K. Lo, N. Ojkic, R. Stephens, N. F. Scherer, A. R. Dinner, “Mechanical feedback promotes bacterial adaptation to antibiotics”, Nature Phys, 17, 403-409 (2021)

Engl C, Jovanovic G, Brackston RD, Kotta-Loizou I & Buck M. The route to transcription initiation determines the mode of transcriptional bursting in bacteria. Nature Commun 11: 1-11 (2020).
Mahbub M, Hemm L, Yang Y, Kaur R, Carmen H, Engl C, Huokko T, Riediger M, Watanabe S, Liu L-N, Wilde A, Hess W, Mullineaux CW. mRNA localisation, reaction centre biogenesis and thylakoid membrane targeting in cyanobacteria. Nature Plants 6: 1179-1191 (2020).

Schorsch M, Kramer K, Goss T, Eisenhut M, Robinson N, Osman D, Wilde A, Sadaf S, Brückler H, Walder L, Scheibe R, Hase T, Hanke G (2018) A unique ferredoxin acts as a novel player in the low iron response of photosynthetic organisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Francis D, Chanana B, Fernandez B, Gordon B, Mak T, Palacios IM (2018). YAP/Yorkie in the germline modulates the age-related decline of germline stem cells and niche cells. PLoS One

Wojciechowski M, Lowe R, Maleszka J, Conn D, Maleszka R, Hurd J (2018). Phenotypically distinct female castes in honey bees are defined by alternative chromatin states during larval development. Genome Research

Balevičius V, Fox K, Bricker W, Jurinovich S, Prandi I, Mennucci B, Duffy C (2017). Fine control of chlorophyll-carotenoid interactions defines the functionality of light-harvesting proteins in plants. Scientific Reports

Sacharz J, Giovagnetti V, Ungerer P, Mastrioanni G, Ruban A (2017). The xanthophyll cycle affects reversible PsbS-LHCII interactions to control non-photochemical quenching. Nature Plants

Schlissel G, Krzyzanowski M, Caudron F, Barral Y, Rine J (2017). Aggregation of the Whi3 protein, not loss of heterochromatin, causes sterility in old yeast cells. Science

Drechsler M, Giavazzi F, Cerbino R, Palacios I (2017). Active diffusion and advection in Drosophila oocytes result from the interplay of actin and microtubules. Nature Communications 

Shrestha R, Conti D, Tamura N, Braun D, Ramalingam R, Cieslinski K, Ries J, Draviam V (2017). Aurora-B kinase pathway controls the lateral to end-on conversion of kinetochore-microtubule attachments in human cells. Nature Communications

Engl C, Schaefer J, Kotta-Loizou I, Buck M (2016). Cellular and molecular phenotypes depending upon the RNA repair system RtcAB in Escherichia coli. Nucleic Acids Research

Schuergers N, Lenn T, Kampmann R, Meissner M, Esteves T, Temerinac-Ott M, Korvink J, Lowe A, Mullineaux C, Wilde A (2016). Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction. eLife

Chmeliov J, Gelzinis A, Songaila E, Augulis R, Duffy C, Ruban A, Valkunas L (2016). The nature of self-regulation in photosynthetic light-harvesting antenna. Nature Plants

Berry L, Ólafsson G, Ledesma-Fernández E, Thorpe P (2016). Synthetic protein interactions reveal a functional map of the cell. eLife

Subramanian L, Medina-Pritchard B, Barton R, Spiller F, Kulasegaran‐Shylini R, Radaviciute G, Allshire R, Jeyaprakash A (2016). Centromere localization and function of Mis18 requires Yippee‐like domain‐mediated oligomerization. EMBO Reports

Aksentijević D, McAndrew D, Karlstädt A, Zervou S, Sebag-Montefiore L, Cross R, Douglas G, Regitz-Zagrosek V, Lopaschuk G, Neubauer S, Lygatea C (2014). Cardiac dysfunction and peri-weaning mortality in malonyl-coenzyme A decarboxylase (MCD) knockout mice as a consequence of restricting substrate plasticity. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology

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