Protein self-assembly

From fundamentals to applications in materials and drug discovery

  • Mon 21st Mar 2022

Proteins are the fundamental building blocks of living systems. They form high performance materials and carry out cellular functions. They are able to fulfil these roles by assembling together to form sophisticated structures and architectures. This talk will first explore some of the fundamental principles that govern protein self-assembly and how this process can be controlled. I will then discuss two applications opened up by the control of protein aggregation and show how this approach can lead to the generation of new types of sustainable materials assembled from natural building blocks, as well as the discovery of small molecules that can ameliorate malfunctioning protein self-assembly in a range of age-associated disease states.

Professor Tuomas Knowles, Professor of Physical Chemistry and Biophysics, Cambridge University

Tuomas Knowles studied Biology at the University of Geneva, and Physics at ETH Zurich. He moved to Cambridge in 2004 to work towards his PhD in the Cavendish Laboratory and the Nanoscience Centre. In 2008 he was elected to a Research Fellowship at St John’s College, Cambridge, and was then appointed to a University Lectureship in Physical Chemistry in 2010, joining the faculty at the Department of Chemistry in Cambridge. He then successively held a University Readership between 2013 and 2015 and a Professorship since 2015 in the Department of Chemistry. Since 2016 he is Professor of Physical Chemistry and Biophysics in the Department of Chemistry and at the Cavendish Laboratory, and is co-director of the Cambridge Centre for Protein Misfolding Diseases in Cambridge.

Attending lectures