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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)


Interaction of the molecular chaperone DNAJB6 with growing amyloid-beta 42 (Aβ42) aggregates leads to sub-stoichiometric inhibition of amyloid formation.
C Månsson, P Arosio, R Hussein, HH Kampinga, RM Hashem, WC Boelens, CM Dobson, TP Knowles, S Linse, C Emanuelsson – J Biol Chem (2014)
The physical chemistry of the amyloid phenomenon: thermodynamics and kinetics of filamentous protein aggregation.
AK Buell, CM Dobson, TP Knowles – Essays Biochem (2014) 56, 11
Differences in nucleation behavior underlie the contrasting aggregation kinetics of the A beta 40 and A beta 42 peptides
G Meisl, X Yang, E Hellstrand, B Frohm, JB Kirkegaard, SI Cohen, CM Dobson, S Linse, TP Knowles – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2014) 111, 9384
Role of filament annealing in the kinetics and thermodynamics of nucleated polymerization
TC Michaels, TP Knowles – The Journal of chemical physics (2014) 140, 214904
The amyloid state and its association with protein misfolding diseases.
TP Knowles, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson – Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology (2014) 15, 384
Asymptotic solutions of the Oosawa model for the length distribution of biofilaments
TC Michaels, GA Garcia, TP Knowles – The Journal of chemical physics (2014) 140, 194906
Solution conditions determine the relative importance of nucleation and growth processes in α-synuclein aggregation
AK Buell, C Galvagnion, R Gaspar, E Sparr, M Vendruscolo, TP Knowles, S Linse, CM Dobson – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2014) 111, 7671
Mean-field master equation formalism for biofilament growth
TCT Michaels, TPJ Knowles – American Journal of Physics (2014) 82, 476
Nucleation-conversion-polymerization reactions of biological macromolecules with prenucleation clusters
GA Garcia, SIA Cohen, CM Dobson, TPJ Knowles – Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics (2014) 89, ARTN 032712
Density-Gradient-Free Microfluidic Centrifugation for Analytical and Preparative Separation of Nanoparticles
P Arosio, T Müller, L Mahadevan, TP Knowles – Nano Lett (2014) 14, 2365
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336344
01223 763845 (shared)

Email address