Natural Nanomachine Research
Understanding enzymes such as DNA gyrase will help us to build artificial versions and to design new drugs such as antibiotics.
Protein Nanoscience Research
Designing and building new protein superstructures will allow new kinds of drug delivery system and ultimately, new kinds of nanoscale biological machines to be constructed.
DNA Nanoscience Research (FNP TEAM Project)
We are trying to build designed, programmable DNA structures using the DNA origami technique.Learn more
We are an ambitious lab. Individual researchers work on a variety of topics and with a wide range of expertise. We are always learning from each other and work together as a team.
For more details, see our news archive and follow us on social media
The Heddle lab is excited to announce two new PhD positions and one new Master's position due to start in October 2020. This is part of a new NCN "Maestro" grant to design and build novel artificial protein cages. If you are interested in doing your PhD or Master's with us please download and complete the application information available here for Master's positions here for the first PhD position and here for the second PhD positions and here for Master's
Artificial protein cages are exciting structures because they can be designed to carry cargoes such as therapeutics to treat disease. The outside of cages can also be modified so that they can display targeting molecules or antigens meaning that artificial cages can be used as designer vaccines. Meanwhile, connections between the subunits of artificial protein cages can be modified to allow programmable assembly and disassembly. It’s so exciting we decided to write a review on the topic! Access the paper here
Now recruiting a Master’s student for a fully funded position lasting for up to 2 years, working with Yusuke Azuma on his exciting project. The successful candidate will be involved in the research project for supercharged protein engineering. You can find the application details, and the format for the "agreement for processing personal data". The application deadline is 21st June, 2020. More information here
There is still a lot we don't know about viruses, even well-characterised ones. We just published a paper identifying and characterising a new bacteriophage protein called Fis. Fis binds DNA and seems to help the virus successfully replicate in bacteria. Our work was done with numerous collaborators in particular our excellent partners, the Sharples lab at Durham University The Biochemical Journal Access the paper here
Here in the Heddle lab we love protein cages. One of their great potential uses is the delivery of active enzymes which could be useful in industry and therapeutically. We've collected together the recent research in this area in a new review in RSC Advances Access the paper here
All life on earth can trace its origins back to an ancestral cell population. But our lineage does not stop there. Even the very earliest cells were too complex to arise by a chance mixing of molecules. This means the first cells themselves must have evolved from even simpler self-replicating systems. In this work published in Trends in Ecology and Evolutioni> we support the view that these very fist ancestral replicators were actually two-component systems consisting of a short strand of nucleic acid and a short peptide. The nucleic acid encodes and synthesizes the peptide and the peptide copies the nucleic acid. Together they make a complete self-replicating system capable of evolving. Access the paper here
We currently have two openings to work with Yusuke Azuma on exciting protein engineering projects: One position is for an administrator/lab manager, a second is for a laboratory technician Download the job ad for the administrator here, And download the job ad for the technician here
Congratulations to the members of the lab (some shown above) who just had a nice new protein cage work accepted in Nano Letters "Three-Dimensional Protein Cage Array Capable of Active Enzyme Capture and Artificial Chaperone Activity" and thanks also to our collaborators in the Kostiainen lab, Aalto university, Finland!
It took a lot of work and a long time but our work on building an artificial protein cage using gold was finally published in Nature. The work shows that using an 11-sided protein ring we could make a spherical hollow protein with highly unusual geometry, extreme stability and with the normal protein-protein interactiosn replaced with a gold "staple". Well done to the whole team who worked so hard and to our many superb collaborators. Check out the paper here
As part of The Malopolska region of Poland's Science night, the Heddle Lab enthusiastically took part and welcomed members of the public young and old to see what we are doing. Attendees learned many things including about DNA structure, green fluorescent protein, how to run DNA on an agarose gel and experienced 3D printing of protein cages. Many thanks to all the members of the lab who worked so hard to make it a success!
We recently organised and hosted an international Bionanoscience workshop with presenters coming from across Europe and Japan. The presentations were excellent and everyone came away fully inspired! See more details inluding a photo gallery here at the Workshop website
New paper published: "An aptamer-enabled DNA nanobox for protein sensing". Workinng with the lab of Julian Tanner, we produced a hollow DNA box that could open and close in response to a molecule that is diagnostic for malaria. Thanks to the Tanner group who did most of the hard work! You can download the paper here
The successful candidate will join a large multidisciplinary team investigating both wet-lab and in-silico based synthetic structural biology (i.e. protein and DNA-based nanomachines) as well as biochemical and structural studies of DNA gyrase. The candidate will be given significant freedom in their research project.. You can download application details here
As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells we are recruiting a postdoctoral research scientist with experience in some or all of the following: Structural biology; protein biochemistry, liposomes/lipid biology, microfluidics. The position will start in June 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter and includes the chance to work with collaborators at the Max Planck insitute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. You can download application details here or via Euraxess.
As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells we are recruiting a Technician Scientist. The position will start in June 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter and includes the chance to work with a variety of collaborators ain multidisciplinary topics. You can download application details here
Heddle lab now recruiting postdoctoral researcher for mcirofluidics, nanomachines and artificial cell projectJanuary 2018
As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells we are recruiting a postdoctoral research scientist with experience in microfluidics. The position will start in April 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter and includes the chance to work with collaborators at the Max Planck insitute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. You can download application details here or via Euraxess.
Well, not quite but we have made an interesting contribution to the on-going research into how life go started. In our paper just published in Molecular Biology And Evolution we looked at the current systems of replication in existing cells and noted that they require both nucleic acids and proteins. We extrapolated back in time and asked it was possible that the initial self-replicator, ancestral to all life could also have been nucleic acid and protein (peptides). Given the right starting conditions and the right building blocks present it seems as if the answer is yes, it is possible though peering so far back in time inevitably raises more questions than answers. The work was done in close collaboration with our colleagues Bernard Piette and Ann Taormina at Durham University, UK and we hope it will be an interesting contribution to the continuing debate regarding the origins of life.
We are happy to announce that we have published a book chapter entitled "TRAPped Structures: Making Artificial Cages with a Ring Protein". Published in "Advances in Bioinspired and Biomedical Materials Volume 1" an ACS publication.
As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells, we will be recruiting one masters student to start in September 2017. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. the student will receive a generous stipend. You can download application details for Masters student position. or via Euraxess. Closing dates has been extended to October 13th.
Soumya has been awarded a presitgious Homing Fellowship from FNP to carry out a new and exciting bionanoscience project entitled "A Programmable Modular, Molecular “Ball-and-Glove” with Potential for Drug Delivery". As part of the project he will be funding a PhD to join the lab to work on the project You can download application details for the PhD position here Closing date is September 5th 2017. Congratulations Soumya!
As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells, we will be recruiting three postdoctoral scientists, two of which will begin in October 2017. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. All positions are fully (and generously) funded. You can download application details for the first Postdoctoral Fellow positon, and the second Postdoctoral Fellow positon, Closing date is September 1st 2017.
As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells, we will be recruiting three postdoctoral scientists, two PhD students and one masters student. All to start in September 2017. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. All positions are fully (and generously) funded. You can download application details for Masters student position, the First PhD student position (DNA nanoscience), and the Second PhD student position (protein nanoscience). Closing dates are August 10th.
One technician (part time) to research unusual gyrases funded by OPUS, is now available. The work is relevant to diseases such as malaria and toxoplasmosis and, it is hoped, will contribute to development of new treatments. This is a great opportunity to become part of an international group of researchers. Deadline: August 7th 2017 Download the full application details
We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a prestigious FNP TEAM grant for a new DNA-origami based project where we hope to design and build DNA nanobots for novel uses including helping to build artificial cells. The research, carried out in collaboration with the group of Ilia Platzman at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research aims to design and build functional systems built from DNA, which it is hoped, may have eventual applications in medicine and biotechnology. Thanks FNP! The new positions to be filled will include three postdoctoral scientists, two PhD students and one Masters student. Initial information can be found here.
The idea that we may be able to use science to bring back extinct animals is a familiar theme in science fiction. But how about long "dead" molecules? Can they be "resurrected"? We have recently published a paper reviewing this topic in the Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. Playfully entitled "Resurrecting the Dead (Molecules)" the work explains how ancient molecules preserved in the environment can be recovered and analysed and how computational techniques can now be used to predict the identity of ancient molecules which can then be produced and tested. Read the paper here.
We will soon be recruiting postgraduate students and technical staff to join our Polonez team working on designing and building novel DNA nanorobts. Stay one step ahead of the competition and find out some advance information about the positions here.
We are now seeking postgraduate students and technical staff to join our expanding team working on biochemistry/structural biology projects related to our OPUS-funded DNA gyrase project. More details, icluding application documents, can be found here for the PhD studentship, here for the Masters studentship, and here for the technical position, Contact the Heddle lab for more information
Yusuke has succeeded in being awarded a prestigious Polonez fellowship to design and build novel DNA robots with potential therapeutic use. Congratulations Yusuke!
Not so recent news but sometimes the coolest results are burried in supplementary materials, especially when they are movies. This is a high speed AFM movie showing our artificial cage protein being broken down. Amazing! Thanks to the collaboration with the labs of Profs. Toshio Ando and Takayuki Uchihashi. The paper was published in Nano Letters Figure reprinted (adapted) with permission from Imamura, M. et al. Nano Lett. 15, 1331-1335 (2015). Copyright (2017) American Chemical Society
Protein cages are cool, cryo-EM is cool. Now find out how cool they are together in a new review paper published by members of the Heddle lab in partnership with our collaborator Kenji Iwasaki (Osaka University). The work was published in Current Opinion in Structural Biology.
Thanks to NCN, we were successful in obtaining funding for our proposed research into unusual DNA gyrases!
We are proud to organise and host an international workshop on the topic of Bionanoscience. You can access the website for the conference here.
We are happy to announce that lab received funding for our proposed work into protein engineering!
Dmitry Ghilarov has joined the lab after winning a prestigious Polonez grant to carry out research on DNA gyrase.