Dr Matthew Batchelor studied for a PhD on biomolecular interactions at solid–liquid interfaces with Prof. Trevor Rayment and Prof. Chris Abell at the University of Cambridge. After working as a postdoctoral research fellow on protein unfolding at the University of Nottingham with Prof. Phil Williams, he worked for three years as a Publishing Editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2012, Matt returned to active experimental and computational research at the University of Leeds, first as an interdisciplinary research fellow working with Prof. Michelle Peckham, Dr Emanuele Paci, Prof. Lorna Dougan and Prof. Peter Knight on single-alpha helix domains, and subsequently with Prof. Richard Bayliss, working broadly on the structural dynamics and interactions of disordered regions of proteins with relevance to cancer, and the structural effects of phosphorylation.
Dr Diana Gimenez-Ibanez is a postdoctoral researcher working with Andy Wilson and Megan Wright on developing new tools to understand and influence protein-protein interactions involving intrinsically disordered regions. Before joining the team in 2021, Diana was a BBSRC research associate at Durham University in Prof. Steven L. Cobb’s group, focussed on developing fluorinated analogues of Fengycin A with enhanced bio-stability for application as ex-vivo antifungals. Before this, Diana completed her PhD in 2019 at Durham University, funded through the Marie Curie ITN Fluor21 network, where she investigated new routes for the conformational control of peptoids through fluorine and fluorine induced dipolar interactions.
Dr Vanda Gunning is a postdoctoral researcher working with Richard Bayliss. Vanda’s primary focus is investigating protein-protein interactions of intrinsically disordered proteins. Before joining the SPiDR, Vanda pursued her MSc and PhD degrees at the University of PJ Safarik in Kosice (Slovakia) with a focus on molecular biology. She was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship for PhD students at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, where she studied the effect of plant compounds with anti-carcinogenic activity on gene expression in human cells. Subsequently, Vanda took part in several research projects at the University of York and the University of Leeds, with her work involving protein expression, purification, protein interactions, structural analysis, and activity assays both in vitro and in vivo in diverse biological systems, ranging from phages to plants and mammalian cell cultures.
Dr James Holder’s research focuses on understanding how post-translational protein modifications are used to facilitate both local and global changes within the cell, particularly within the cell cycle. In 2019, James completed a Wellcome Trust funded PhD under the supervision of Professor Francis Barr. This work centred on establishing how the rapid series of events that comprise mitosis and mitotic exit were ordered to ensure successful completion of cell division. Following this, he began a postdoctoral research position with Dr Ivan Ahel, investigating the role of ADP-ribosylation in various cellular contexts. In his current postdoctoral position, based at the University of Oxford with Dr Fanni Gergely, James will use various cell biological and proteomic techniques to dissect the function of Aurora-A in space and time throughout the cell cycle.
Dr Jennifer Miles studied for a PhD with Cancer Research UK, awarded by University College London. Following this, she moved to the University of Leeds to work as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof Andrew Wilson and Dr Thomas Edwards on the structural characterisation of inhibitors of Protein-Protein interactions. After this, Jennifer undertook a postdoctoral research position with Prof Paul Taylor, establishing his research group at Leeds. In her most recent role, she has been undertaking structural studies for the CRUK Manchester Institute DDU with Prof Richard Bayliss, based at the University of Leeds.
Isha is a first-year PhD student funded through an sLoLa studentship. Isha is co-supervised by Dr Takashi Ochi and Professor Richard Bayliss and works on understanding the structural bases of protein-protein interactions. Isha graduated from Queen Mary, University of London, in 2021 with an MSci in Biochemistry. Her undergraduate research project in the Pearce group focused on fibroblast-derived matrix models at the Barts Cancer Institute. For her master’s project, she developed a multi-protein complex model of Mce proteins in the Darbari group.
Jack is a PhD student working under the supervision of Professor Colin Johnson, Dr Darren Tomlinson and Dr Claire Smith. The focus of his project is the design and use of Novel genetic and cell biology tools to modulate the protein-protein interactions of Aurora kinase A; this centres around the use of Affimer technology. Jack graduated from the University of Liverpool with a Master of Research (MRes) degree in Advanced Biological Sciences supervised by Professor Lu-Yun Lian, researching the Protein-Protein and Protein-Ligand interactions of Cyclophilin D – a key mitochondrial protein. Before this, Jack studied Biochemistry at the University of Wolverhampton, graduating in 2020.
Chloe is a PhD student funded through an EPSRC CASE studentship in collaboration with LifeArc. Chloe is co-supervised by Dr Megan Wright and Professor Andrew Wilson and will be working on developing chemical tools to study intrinsically disordered protein regions. Chloe graduated from the University of Leeds in 2021 with an MChem in Medicinal Chemistry, where she spent a year at Pfizer studying hydrogels as drug delivery systems. For her final year project, Chloe worked in the Nelson group synthesising a library of shape diverse fragment-like molecules using C-H arylation.
Dr Martin Walko completed his PhD with B. L. Feringa at the University of Groningen, working on molecular and biomolecular switches after some time working as an independent researcher at P. J. Safarik University in Kosice (Slovakia) and research in protein channel gating with A. Kocer at the University of Groningen. Martin is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds. His current research in the Wilson Group focuses on developing chemical biology tools to study amyloid aggregation and protein-protein interactions.
Dr Claire Smith is a postdoctoral researcher working with Prof Colin Johnson and studying AURKA interactions through the development of an siRNA screen. She also supervises PhD student Jack Roberts. In her previous role, she completed drugs screens using various cellular models to identify potential therapeutics for ciliopathies and their mechanisms of action. She previously completed her PhD on the genetics of hearing, sight and enamel defects with Prof Chris Inglehearn, Dr Alan Mighell and Dr James Poulter at the University of Leeds. She has also worked on the genetics of inherited retinal dystrophies, Aicardi-Goutières syndrome and imprinting disorders.
Dr Theodoros Karamanos is an NMR spectroscopist focusing on structural biology. He graduated from the Department of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. Theo then undertook a PhD degree under the supervision of Prof. Sheena Radford at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds. He then moved to the laboratory of Dr. Marius Clore at NIDDK, NIH, USA as a postdoctoral researcher. He is currently a Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale fellow studying protein excited states involved in the chaperone network.
Dr Nasir Khan is a research lab manager for Prof. Sheena Radford and Prof. David Brockwell’s labs at The University of Leeds and a facility manager for Astbury Circular Dichroism. Nasir also looks after stopped-flow, which will be available for Astbury. Nasir’s duties include purchasing and managing several grants/accounts, finance, and health and safety. Nasir is also involved with research on several projects, including SPIDR.
Lily Martin Viney
Lily is a Masters by Research (MRes) student co-supervised by Professor Richard Bayliss and Professor Takashi Ochi. She is undertaking a year-long project to understand the structural basis of protein-protein interactions with Aurora A.
She graduated from the University of Leeds with an MSc in Biochemistry in 2023.
Brian is a PhD student funded through White Rose BBSRC DTP (Diverse Talent Scholarship), working under the supervision of Dr Darren Tomlinson, Prof. Colin Johnson, and Prof. Richard Bayliss. His project focuses on probing the interactome of Aurora-A using Affimer reagents to understand the complex molecular mechanisms that determine its biological function. Brian graduated from the University of Leeds with a Master of Biology (MBiol) degree in Medical Biochemistry, with his extended research project supervised by Dr Takashi Ochi, focusing on determining the protein-protein interactions that make up centriolar structure. Brian also completed an industrial year during his undergraduate at Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
Emma is a first-year PhD student funded by the White Rose Mechanistic Biology DTP. She is supervised primarily by Dr Takashi Ochi and co-supervised by Dr Darren Tomlinson and Professor Neil Ranson. She works on using affimers to solve the cryo-EM structure of small proteins, with her main target being Aurora-A kinase. She graduated with an MSc in Molecular Medicine in 2022. For her masters project, she worked in Dr Sandra Bell’s lab, where she focused on elucidating the role of the CSMD1 gene in cancer.