The majority of the group’s research explores the behaviour and application of amphiphiles – a systems methodology underpins our approach.
Amphiphiles, molecules that are both hydrophobic and hydrophillic, have some intriging properties. In water they self-organise into complex structures; phospholipids, the building blocks of cell membranes are amphiphiles, DNA is amphiphilic and so are many proteins. Surfactants are amphiphiles and under the right conditions amphiphiles form lyotropic liquid crystals.
Current projects look at;
- how the physical properties of phospholipids can modulate protein activity and feedback control mechanisms in phospholipid homeostasis.
- the activity of lipid biosynthetic enzymes in crowded molecular environments like the cell nucleus.
- how model membranes can be used in synthetic biology to make in vitro biodevices, specifically with a view to making semi-biotic devices.