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Professor 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)


A natural product inhibits the initiation of α-synuclein aggregation and suppresses its toxicity
M Perni, C Galvagnion, A Maltsev, G Meisl, MBD Müller, PK Challa, JB Kirkegaard, P Flagmeier, SIA Cohen, R Cascella, SW Chen, R Limboker, P Sormanni, GT Heller, FA Aprile, N Cremades, C Cecchi, F Chiti, EAA Nollen, TPJ Knowles, M Vendruscolo, A Bax, M Zasloff, CM Dobson
– Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Micro- and nanoscale hierarchical structure of core-shell protein microgels
LR Volpatti, U Shimanovich, FS Ruggeri, S Bolisetty, T Mueller, TO Mason, TCT Michaels, R Mezzenga, G Dietler, TPJ Knowles
Kinetics of spontaneous filament nucleation via oligomers: Insights from theory and simulation
A Šarić, TCT Michaels, A Zaccone, TPJ Knowles, D Frenkel
– The Journal of Chemical Physics
Dynamics of heteromolecular filament formation.
AJ Dear, TCT Michaels, TPJ Knowles
– The Journal of chemical physics
β-Synuclein suppresses both the initiation and amplification steps of α-synuclein aggregation via competitive binding to surfaces.
JWP Brown, AK Buell, TCT Michaels, G Meisl, J Carozza, P Flagmeier, M Vendruscolo, TPJ Knowles, CM Dobson, C Galvagnion
– Scientific reports
Dynamic microfluidic control of supramolecular peptide self-assembly.
ZA Arnon, A Vitalis, A Levin, TCT Michaels, A Caflisch, TPJ Knowles, L Adler-Abramovich, E Gazit
– Nature Communications
Fabrication of fibrillosomes from droplets stabilized by protein nanofibrils at all-aqueous interfaces.
Y Song, U Shimanovich, TCT Michaels, Q Ma, J Li, TPJ Knowles, HC Shum
– Nature Communications
Kinetics of fragmentation and dissociation of two-strand protein filaments: Coarse-grained simulations and experiments.
A Zaccone, I Terentjev, TW Herling, TPJ Knowles, A Aleksandrova, EM Terentjev
– J. Chem. Phys.
Mutations associated with familial Parkinson's disease alter the initiation and amplification steps of α-synuclein aggregation.
P Flagmeier, G Meisl, M Vendruscolo, TPJ Knowles, CM Dobson, AK Buell, C Galvagnion
– Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Protein Aggregate-Ligand Binding Assays Based on Microfluidic Diffusional Separation.
Y Zhang, AK Buell, T Müller, E De Genst, J Benesch, CM Dobson, TPJ Knowles
– Chembiochem
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Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336344

Email address