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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)


Synthesis of non-equilibrium supra-molecular peptide polymers on a microfluidic platform.
TO Mason, TC Michaels, A Levin, E Gazit, CM Dobson, AK Buell, TP Knowles – Journal of the American Chemical Society (2016)
Controlling the Physical Dimensions of Peptide Nanotubes by Supramolecular Polymer Coassembly
L Adler-Abramovich, P Marco, ZA Arnon, RC Creasey, TC Michaels, A Levin, DJ Scurr, CJ Roberts, TP Knowles, SJ Tendler, E Gazit – ACS Nano (2016)
Fluctuations in the Kinetics of Linear Protein Self-Assembly
TC Michaels, AJ Dear, JB Kirkegaard, KL Saar, DA Weitz, TP Knowles – Phys Rev Lett (2016) 116, 258103
Amyloid Fibrils as Building Blocks for Natural and Artificial Functional Materials
TP Knowles, R Mezzenga – Adv Mater (2016)
A Microfluidic Platform for Real-Time Detection and Quantification of Protein-Ligand Interactions.
TW Herling, DJ O'Connell, MC Bauer, J Persson, U Weininger, TP Knowles, S Linse – Biophys J (2016) 110, 1957
The S/T-Rich Motif in the DNAJB6 Chaperone Delays Polyglutamine Aggregation and the Onset of Disease in a Mouse Model.
V Kakkar, C Månsson, EP de Mattos, S Bergink, M van der Zwaag, MA van Waarde, NJ Kloosterhuis, R Melki, RT van Cruchten, S Al-Karadaghi, P Arosio, CM Dobson, TP Knowles, GP Bates, JM van Deursen, S Linse, B van de Sluis, C Emanuelsson, HH Kampinga – Molecular Cell (2016) 62, 272
Analysis of the length distribution of amyloid fibrils by centrifugal sedimentation.
P Arosio, T Cedervall, TP Knowles, S Linse – Analytical biochemistry (2016) 504, 7
Microfluidic Diffusion Viscometer for Rapid Analysis of Complex Solutions.
P Arosio, K Hu, FA Aprile, T Müller, TP Knowles – Anal Chem (2016) 88, 3488
A Fragment-Based Method of Creating Small-Molecule Libraries to Target the Aggregation of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
P Joshi, S Chia, J Habchi, TP Knowles, CM Dobson, M Vendruscolo – ACS Comb Sci (2016) 18, 144
Consistent Treatment of Hydrophobicity in Protein Lattice Models Accounts for Cold Denaturation.
E van Dijk, P Varilly, TP Knowles, D Frenkel, S Abeln – Phys Rev Lett (2016) 116, 078101
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 763845 (shared)
01223 336344

Email address