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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)


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
– Nat Commun
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
Physical determinants of the self-replication of protein fibrils
A Šaric, AK Buell, G Meisl, TCT Michaels, CM Dobson, S Linse, TPJ Knowles, D Frenkel
– Nature Physics
Synthesis of Nonequilibrium Supramolecular Peptide Polymers on a Microfluidic Platform
TO Mason, TCT Michaels, A Levin, E Gazit, CM Dobson, AK Buell, TPJ Knowles
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Controlling the Physical Dimensions of Peptide Nanotubes by Supramolecular Polymer Coassembly
L Adler-Abramovich, P Marco, ZA Arnon, RCG Creasey, TCT Michaels, A Levin, DJ Scurr, CJ Roberts, TPJ Knowles, SJB Tendler, E Gazit
– ACS Nano
Quantifying Measurement Fluctuations from Stochastic Surface Processes on Sensors with Heterogeneous Sensitivity
J Charmet, TCT Michaels, R Daly, A Prasad, P Thiruvenkathanathan, RS Langley, TPJ Knowles, AA Seshia
– Physical Review Applied
ARTN 064016
Fluctuations in the Kinetics of Linear Protein Self-Assembly
TCT Michaels, AJ Dear, JB Kirkegaard, KL Saar, DA Weitz, TPJ Knowles
– Phys Rev Lett
Particle-Based Monte-Carlo Simulations of Steady-State Mass Transport at Intermediate Péclet Numbers
T Müller, P Arosio, L Rajah, SIA Cohen, EV Yates, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, TPJ Knowles
– International Journal of Nonlinear Sciences and Numerical Simulation
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336344
01223 763845 (shared)

Email address