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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)


Molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation from global fitting of kinetic models.
G Meisl, JB Kirkegaard, P Arosio, TC Michaels, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, S Linse, TP Knowles – Nature protocols (2016) 11, 252
Quantitative analysis of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the aggregation mechanism of Alzheimer-associated Aβ-peptide.
G Meisl, X Yang, B Frohm, TP Knowles, S Linse – Scientific reports (2016) 6, 18728
Microfluidic Diffusion Analysis of the Sizes and Interactions of Proteins under Native Solution Conditions.
P Arosio, T Müller, L Rajah, EV Yates, FA Aprile, Y Zhang, SI Cohen, DA White, TW Herling, EJ De Genst, S Linse, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, TP Knowles – ACS Nano (2016) 10, 333
N-Terminal Extensions Retard Aβ42 Fibril Formation but Allow Cross-Seeding and Coaggregation with Aβ42.
O Szczepankiewicz, B Linse, G Meisl, E Thulin, B Frohm, C Sala Frigerio, MT Colvin, AC Jacavone, RG Griffin, T Knowles, DM Walsh, S Linse – Journal of the American Chemical Society (2015) 137, 14673
The length distribution of frangible biofilaments.
TC Michaels, P Yde, JC Willis, MH Jensen, D Otzen, CM Dobson, AK Buell, TP Knowles – The Journal of chemical physics (2015) 143, 164901
Latent analysis of unmodified biomolecules and their complexes in solution with attomole detection sensitivity.
EV Yates, T Müller, L Rajah, EJ De Genst, P Arosio, S Linse, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, TP Knowles – Nature Chemistry (2015) 7, 802
Biophysical approaches for the study of interactions between molecular chaperones and protein aggregates
MA Wright, FA Aprile, P Arosio, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, TP Knowles – Chemical communications (Cambridge, England) (2015) 51, 14425
Fast Flow Microfluidics and Single-Molecule Fluorescence for the Rapid Characterization of α-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) 87, 8818
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
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 763845 (shared)
01223 336344

Email address