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Dr Jonathan Phillips

Dr Jonathan Phillips

Senior Research Fellow

 7456

 +44 (0)1392 727456

 Living Systems Institute T04.14

 

Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD

Overview

I am interested in how molecules move, how this underpins important biological functions and ultimately how we can direct those dynamics to create new opportunities for medicine and biosensing.

My background is in protein biophysics – developing physical and chemical methods to gain insight into molecular structure, folding and dynamics. I have experience in studying naturally occurring proteins and also in synthetic biology – designing and building protein switches and self-assembly systems. These dual skillsets were ultimately brought together to study and engineer protein drugs and drug targets.

The research in my lab is focused on three interwoven threads:

  1. Studying the assembly and dynamics of protein systems in nature.
  2. Creating new molecular systems for medicine and biosensing.
  3. Advancing analytical methods to better understand protein dynamics.

Broad research specialisms

Biochemistry
Protein biophysics
Analytical chemistry
Mass spectrometry

Living Systems Institute Profile

Qualifications

2007 PhD Molecular Biophysics, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

2000 BSc Medical Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham

Research group links

Research

Research interests

I am interested in how molecules move, how this underpins important biological functions and ultimately how we can direct those dynamics to create new opportunities for medicine and biosensing.

My background is in protein biophysics – developing physical and chemical methods to gain insight into molecular structure, folding and dynamics. Much of this has been in what are termed ‘structural mass spectrometry’ techniques. The core approach used in my lab is hydrogen/deuterium-exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), which is experiencing something of a renaissance: it has unique advantages in being able to measure protein structure, dynamics and thermodynamics (stability) in arbitrarily large systems (e.g. antibody dimers of 300 kDa), rapidly (<= seconds) and with single amino acid resolution. We are active in developing experimental and computational methods and tools to advance the scope of this powerful analytical technique.

I have experience in studying naturally occurring protein structure, folding and dynamics and also in synthetic biology – designing and building protein switches and self-assembly systems. These dual skillsets were first brought together in a biomedical context with an industrial fellowship to study and engineer protein drugs and drug targets. This momentum is continued at The Living Systems Institute as we investigate naturally occurring biological control and the potential to design conscious control of molecular systems.

The research in my lab is focused on three interwoven threads:

  1. Studying the assembly and dynamics of protein systems in nature.
  2. Creating new molecular systems for medicine and biosensing.
  3. Advancing analytical methods to better understand protein dynamics.

We welcome informal enquiries from prospective fellows and graduate students.

*We also have the potential to support two internships this summer*

Research projects

  1. High-resolution antibody unfolding studies for developability and novel drug delivery
  2. Biopharmaceutical HOS analysis by automated fast hydrogen deuterium exchange
  3. Alpha synuclein structural dynamics ensemble in Parkinson’s disease mutants

Grants/Funding

InnovateUK grant 102612 “Biopharmaceutical HOS analysis by automated fast hydrogen deuterium exchange”

Teaching

Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Zacharopoulou Maria (MPhil student at University of Cambridge)
  • Carolina Orozco (Joint PhD student with Dr Sophie Jackson, University of Cambridge)

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