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Dr Tuomas Knowles

Portrait of tpjk2

We study the physical and chemical aspects of the behaviour of biopolymers and other soft systems. Much of our work has been focused on the physical aspects underlying the self-assembly of protein molecules. Self-organisation is the driving force generating complex matter in nature, and the process by which the machinery providing functionality in living systems is assembled. The goal of our research is to understand the physical and chemical factors which control the structures and dynamics of biomolecular assemblies, and the connections between the nanoscale characteristics of the component molecules and the physical properties of large-scale assemblies and their behaviour on a mesoscopic to macroscopic scale. The techniques used in our laboratory include biosensors, optical lithography, microfluidic devices and scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy. We work both with natural and synthetic polymers and our interests range from fundamental chemical physics to technological applications in material science and molecular medicine.

Selected publications

An analytical solution to the kinetics of breakable filament assembly, Science, 326, 1533 (2009)

Role of intermolecular forces in defining material properties of protein nanofibrils, Science 318, 1900 (2007)


Fast flow microfluidics and single-molecule fluorescence for the rapid characterization of alpha-synuclein oligomers.
MH Horrocks, L Tosatto, AJ Dear, GA Garcia, M Iljina, N Cremades, M Dalla Serra, TP Knowles, CM Dobson, D Klenerman – Anal Chem (2015) 150810142542002
Dynamics of protein aggregation and oligomer formation governed by secondary nucleation
TC Michaels, HW Lazell, P Arosio, TP Knowles – The Journal of chemical physics (2015) 143, 054901
Force generation by the growth of amyloid aggregates
TW Herling, GA Garcia, TC Michaels, W Grentz, J Dean, U Shimanovich, H Gang, T Müller, B Kav, EM Terentjev, CM Dobson, TP Knowles – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015) 112, 9524
Molecular Rotors Provide Insights into Microscopic Structural Changes During Protein Aggregation.
AJ Thompson, TW Herling, M Kubánková, A Vyšniauskas, TP Knowles, MK Kuimova – J Phys Chem B (2015) 119, 10170
Enzymatically Active Microgels from Self-Assembling Protein Nanofibrils for Microflow Chemistry
XM Zhou, U Shimanovich, TW Herling, S Wu, CM Dobson, TP Knowles, S Perrett – ACS Nano (2015) 9, 5772
Aggregation-Prone Amyloid-Cu-II Species Formed on the Millisecond Timescale under Mildly Acidic Conditions
JT Pedersen, CB Borg, TC Michaels, TP Knowles, P Faller, K Teilum, L Hemmingsen – Chembiochem (2015) 16, 1293
Preventing peptide and protein misbehavior.
P Arosio, G Meisl, M Andreasen, TP Knowles – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015) 112, 5267
A microfluidic platform for quantitative measurements of effective protein charges and single ion binding in solution.
TW Herling, P Arosio, T Müller, S Linse, TP Knowles – Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP (2015) 17, 12161
Structural characterization of toxic oligomers that are kinetically trapped during α-synuclein fibril formation.
SW Chen, S Drakulic, E Deas, M Ouberai, FA Aprile, R Arranz, S Ness, C Roodveldt, T Guilliams, EJ De-Genst, D Klenerman, NW Wood, TP Knowles, C Alfonso, G Rivas, AY Abramov, JM Valpuesta, CM Dobson, N Cremades – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015) 112, E1994
The physical basis of protein misfolding disorders
TPJ Knowles, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson – Physics Today (2015) 68, 36
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336344
01223 763845 (shared)

Email address