School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Dr Jon Nield


Senior Lecturer in Structural Biology, Principal Research Fellow

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8440
Room Number: Room G11, Joseph Priestley Building

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Advanced Biochemical Research Methods (BIO491)
  • Project Skills in the Life Sciences (BIO603)


Research Interests:

I am a scientist in the fields of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, specialising in protein production, single particle image processing, transmission electron microscopy and the 3D modelling of membrane-bound biological macromolecules. I hold an independent position within the Biochemistry & Chemistry Division; the laboratory's research interests are targeted at solving macromolecular protein structure and function, with emphasis on photosynthetically-active complexes.

We typically observe these structures to be 20 to 40 nm in diameter (500 to 3,000 kDa in molecular mass) and calculate their structures to reveal details 2 to 3 nm in size. Of primary importance are the 3D structures of functionally intact membrane-bound (observed in solubilised form) photosystem reaction centres, isolated from a variety of organisms. We hope these 2D/3D structural maps will aid future research, elsewhere, in the design of artificial photosynthesis/renewable energy technologies.
We have also investigated macromolecules involved in bacterial pathogenesis, neurotoxicity and spermatogenesis. Amongst others (c/f .pdb entries at the RCSB), a light harvesting protein (C-phycocyanin) was resolved to 1.45 Å resolution by X-ray crystallography.

Our research focus is shifting to those proteins required for the assembly, repair or regulation of the photosystems and their associated light harvesting assemblies. The fields of light-sensing (phytochrome) and iron metabolism (ferritin) are also proving to be exciting. The electron microscope, either transmission or scanning variant, is a wonderful tool and one may be drawn into any project, not necessarily photosynthetic, in the pursuit of serendipity.

Practical work is performed on the first floor in The Joseph Priestley Building, with computing and office being hosted on the ground floor. I am a management member of QMUL's NanoVision Centre for microscopy and also one of the School's key academics aiming to enhance the Biology Employability agenda. My work has been sponsored by numerous sources, primarily through the UK government's BBSRC research council, Japan's JST/CREST initiative and The Royal Society.

Research department


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