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Knowles Lab

Biophysics & Biophysical Chemistry

About us

We are an interdisciplinary and interactive group based in the Department of Chemistry, the Cambridge Centre for Protein Misfolding Diseases and the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. We bring together ideas and tools from Chemistry and Physics to develop new approaches to probe the behaviour of biological molecules. We are particularly interested in protein self-assembly, the processes by which proteins come together to form the nanoscale machinery of life. Much of our efforts in this area are focused understanding aberrant protein self-assembly that underlies neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and we conduct this work in the Cambridge Centre for Protein Misfolding Diseases. We are also interested in controlling the self-assembly of natural proteins to generate new types of functional materials.

The techniques used in our laboratory include microfluidics, protein chemistry, biosensors, optical lithography and scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy. We also have an interest in applying theoretical concepts from statistical mechanics and chemical kinetics to protein systems.

We work both with natural and synthetic polymers and our interests range from fundamental biophysics to technological applications in materials science and molecular medicine.

We work very collaboratively with colleagues in academia and industry, and we are interested in addressing problems with important technological and societal implications. Research in the group has led to the discovery of novel technologies and start-up companies have emerged from the research.