Our research examines the structure and function of a family of pore forming proteins known as ion channels. We use cutting edge computational methods to understand the mechanisms by which these and other membrane proteins can identify and transport molecules across the cell membrane, how the pores open and close to control this transport, and how they are influenced by the surrounding membrane. In addition we are interested in studying transport in other kinds of pores, be they in proteins, crystaline materials or synthetic membranes. Gaining a fundamental understanding of the operation of biological pores has allowed us to design synthetic porous membranes that can be used for the desalination of sea water or to remove dangerous contaminants from water supplies.
Proteins and macromolecules can be difficult to study due to their size, functioning at the interface of microscopic molecular behaviour and macroscopic mechanical behaviour. To investigate them we use a combination of computational techniques including quantum calculations, atomistic and coarse grained molecular dynamics, and macroscopic modelling. As experts in molecular simulation we apply our skills to help many other groups better understand the structure and function of their proteins of interest. In addition we utilise FRET microscopy (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer) to experimentally study the conformational changes of proteins as they function, and design computational codes to better design and interpret FRET experiments.
Special Project Students
Mechanosensitive channels are fundamental molecular components of mechanosensory systems in all organisms.
DNA is the target biomolecule of many anticancer drugs because DNA replication is one of the most vulnerable cellular process.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are integral in electrical signaling within the human body and are key targets for anesthetics and antiepileptic comp