Principal Investigators

Professor David Klug, Chair of PROXO Group

Professor David Klug, Chair of PROXO Group

Imperial College London
Email: d.klug@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/d.klug

Professor David Klug’s group specialises in optical spectroscopies applied to biological problems including 2-dimensional vibrational fingerprinting technology and systems integration, the relationship between protein structure-function and dynamics and predictive models of proteins and protein networks.

Dr Oscar Ces

Dr Oscar Ces

Imperial College London
Email: o.ces@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/o.ces

Specialises in microfluidics tools for single cell analysis and manipulation, biomembrane mechanics, lipid-phase behaviour studies, drug-membrane and lipid-protein interactions.

Professor Jon Cooper

Professor Jon Cooper

University of Glasgow
Email: Jon.Cooper@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/staff/jonathancooper/

Professor Jon Cooper holds the Wolfson Chair in Bioengineering at the University of Glasgow. His research interest focuses on miniaturisation in the biomedical sciences, biosensors, lab-on-a-chip, nanophotonics and acoustics.

Dr Andrew Glidle

Dr Andrew Glidle

University of Glasgow
Email: Andrew.Glidle@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/staff/andrewglidle/

Professor Robin Leatherbarrow

Professor Robin Leatherbarrow

Imperial College London
Email: r.leatherbarrow@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/r.leatherbarrow

Professor Robin Leatherbarrow’s research is concerned with molecular recognition between proteins and their ligands, which involves a multidisciplinary blend of physical and biological sciences, ranging from structural biology, through enzymology to synthetic chemistry.

Professor Mark Neil

Professor Mark Neil

Imperial College London
Email: mark.neil@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/mark.neil

Working on multiple parameter fluorescence imaging techniques including fluorescence lifetime, spectrally resolved and polarisation resolved imaging.

Professor Andy Pitt

Professor Andy Pitt

Aston University
Email: a.r.pitt@aston.ac.uk
Website: aston.ac.uk/lhs/staff/az-index/andrew-pitt/

Professor Andy Pitt is Chair of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Aston University. His research focuses on new technologies in post-genomics including MALDI mass spectrometric imaging, protein arrays, protein-protein interactions, application of mass spectrometry to biological oxidations, biomarker discovery, general proteomics and cell biology.

Dr Corinne Spickett

Dr Corinne Spickett

Aston University
Email: c.m.spickett@aston.ac.uk
Website: aston.ac.uk/lhs/staff/az-index/dr-corinne-spickett/

Dr Corinne Spickett has broad scientific background and interests in oxidative stress ranging from molecular processes to inflammation in disease. One of the major techniques used is electrospray mass spectrometry (ESMS), which can be applied to the analysis of phospholipid and protein oxidation.

Professor Ramon Vilar

Professor Ramon Vilar

Imperial College London
Email: r.vilar@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/r.vilar

Our research focuses on the synthesis and biomedical applications of metal complexes and supramolecular assemblies. In particular we are interested in understanding the interactions of metal complexes with DNA and proteins, and in the development of novel molecular probes for sensing and bio-imaging.

Professor Keith Willison

Professor Keith Willison

Imperial College London
Email: keith.willison@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/keith.willison

Professor Keith Willison researches fundamental problems in protein folding. He applies biophysical, structural and single molecule techniques to elucidate the mechanism of actin folding by the eukaryotic chaperonin CCT. He is also applying high-throughput systems-level approaches to the study of CCT in yeast and is developing models for coupling of CCT activity to cell cycle and cell growth control.

Dr Rudiger Woscholski

Dr Rudiger Woscholski

Imperial College London
Email: r.woscholski@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/people/r.woscholski

The Woscholski group focuses on the elucidation of phosphoinositde (PI) dependent signalling pathways, with particular emphasis on the role of 3-phosphorylated inositol lipids and their effectors. Another focus of their research is aimed at the unravelling of the role of the different phosphoinositide phosphatases in vivo.

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Project Managers

Dr Natalia Goehring (Past member)

Dr Natalia Goehring (Past member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

Responsible for the general management of the project, including finance and IP management, tracking the scientific progress, as well as long term strategy and planning.

Dr Wing-Chau Tung (Past Member)

Dr Wing-Chau Tung (Past Member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

Mrs Angela Woolton

Mrs Angela Woolton

University of Glasgow
Email: angela.woolton@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/opportunities/dtc/

Liaise closely and provides information to and feedback from the Imperial Project Manager, and manages the daily operation of the project at University of Glasgow as well as contributing to the long term strategy and planning of the project.

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Research Fellow

Dr Alexandra Alves Duarte (Past member)

Dr Alexandra Alves Duarte (Past member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) contain a highly reactive catalytic site cysteine residue that renders PTPs susceptible to oxidation and consequent inactivation by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are key signalling molecules involved, among other processes, in cell proliferation and death. Through molecular and cellular studies, my research examines the redox regulation of PTPs, particularly of PTEN and PTPMT1, and its possible role in these events.

Alexandra is now a Senior Research Technician at the Netherlands Cancer Institute

Dr Craig Auchinvole (Past member)

Dr Craig Auchinvole (Past member)

University of Glasgow
Email:
Website:

Surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices have been used for years in a variety of applications ranging from electronics to biosensors. My research involves interfacing SAW devices with other core technologies in the Proxomics Project (such as MS and MAC chips) to create improved tools with which to investigate, and better understand, cellular oxidative damage. I am also interested in developing microarrays for single cell analysis of oxidative damage.

Craig is now a Method Development Specialist at the Charles River Laboratories, Edinburgh

Dr Duncan Casey

Dr Duncan Casey

Imperial College London
Email: duncan.casey01@imperial.ac.uk
Website: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/people/duncan.casey01

Dr Duncan Casey is working on Smart Droplet Microtools (SDMs), which are detergent-coated droplets which permit the direct manipulation of cell membranes via the use of optical traps.  Through their use, the cell surface can be sampled and analysed in a time-resolved manner, permitting the detection of changes in protein makeup during their life-cycle or through the course of disease.  Duncan’s work will focus upon the development of these tools, both to optimise them for a wide range of cell systems but also to engineer them for payload delivery, allowing us to perform single-cell transfection for the first time.

Dr Agostino Cilibrizzi

Dr Agostino Cilibrizzi

Imperial College London
Email: a.cilibrizzi@imperial.ac.uk
Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/a.cilibrizzi

I am currently working on the development of a family of new optical probes for sensing the causes of ageing through bio-imaging.
In particular, following a synthetic chemical biology approach, the project is focused on the design, synthesis and biomedical applications of fluorescent metal complexes to be used for monitoring protein-oxidative damage, in order to develop novel technologies useful to investigate the amount of damaged proteins and their localization in cells.

I joined the programme because I was attracted about the possibility to dispose of a wide range of approaches, instrumentations and technologies to study and hopefully solve important questions in biology. The programme has enabled me to grow in these areas by firstly providing the opportunity to improve my skills and knowledge in the chemical biology field, as well as to learn innovative techniques from different scientific fields

Dr Julia Davies

Dr Julia Davies

Imperial College London
Email: julia.davies@imperial.ac.uk
Website: www.chemicalbiology.ac.uk/

I’m using a coherent non-linear spectroscopic technique called Electron-Vibration-Vibration (EVV) 2DIR. The multidimensional nature of this technique enables spectral decongestion and allows identification and quantification of proteins.  Characteristic features of the 2DIR spectra are dependent on oxidation state and therefore this technique will be used to investigate protein oxidative damage.  I will also perform Quantum Chemistry calculations to enable simulation of 2DIR spectra; this will aid interpretation of the measured spectra and provide an insight into the oxidation process.

I joined the PROXO programme because I wanted to use my experimental skills in laser spectroscopy to investigate problems of medical importance; the programme has enabled me to achieve this by providing an interdisciplinary environment and active collaborations through which I have expanded my knowledge and gained valuable experience in biomedical research.

Dr Frank Gesellchen

Dr Frank Gesellchen

University of Glasgow
Email: Frank.Gesellchen@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/frankgesellchen/

Building on previous work in the project, I am involved in interfacing surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices with existing technologies (MAC chips, Mass spectrometry) to study protein oxidation as a marker of ageing and disease. I am also interested in developing assays to study oxidative stress response down to the single cell level, through the use of single cell trapping arrays, SAW PCR and immunofluorescence.

Dr Rui Guo (Past member)

Dr Rui Guo (Past member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

EVV 2DIR spectroscopy is a nonlinear optical technique currently being actively developed at Imperial College. It has the potential of a powerful analytical tool, providing fast idenfication of target molecules from compelx biosamples, essential for disease dignosis. It has also been proven capable of providing structural information of weakly interacting molecular complexes, opening up the avenue of its applications in detecting protein-protein interactions. My research mainly focuses on the theoretcial development of EVV 2DIR spectroscopy and its applications in proteomics using theoretical and computational methods.

Rui is now a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia

Dr Inna Guterman

Dr Inna Guterman

Imperial College London
Email: i.guterman@imperial.ac.uk
Website:

I am currently dealing with protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), in particular of the tumour suppressor phosphatase (PTEN). Wild type and mutant PTEN are overexpressed in E. coli. I isolate the proteins and examine the mechanism of their inactivation by oxidation. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are key signalling molecules involved, among other processes, in cell proliferation and death. I also check different synthetic molecules, provided by other members of PROXO project, for selective binding to an oxidatively damaged form of the PTEN protein.

I joined the PROXO programme because I wanted to use my experimental skills in molecular biology to investigate problems of medical importance; the programme has enabled me to learn a lot about biochemical assays and enzymology. It will help in developing my career in biotech industry in the future.

Dr Lok Hang Mak (Past member)

Dr Lok Hang Mak (Past member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

My work focuses on the oxidative damage of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) by reactive oxygen species (ROS), in particular of the tumour suppressor phosphatase PTEN.  All PTPs share a common CysteineX5R active site motif and are therefore susceptible to inactivation by thiol-oxidation. By combining biological methodologies with chemical tools, we hope to gain a better understanding in the redox-regulation of PTPs as well as how ROS impact on signal transduction.

Lok is now a Research Associate at Imperial College London.

Dr Dileep Mampallil Augustine

Dr Dileep Mampallil Augustine

University of Glasgow
Email: Dileep.Mampallil@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/dileepmampallilaugustine/

My research involves capturing single cells in specially designed traps in microfluidic channels and probing their dynamics of reactive oxidative stress. Additionally, single cell assyas are studied using mass spectrometry (MS). The sample preparation for MS is performed by evaporating (nebulizing) droplets of assays using ultrasonic surface acoustic waves (SAW). I am also interested in optimizing SAW and MS interfacing.

Dr John Mina (Past member)

Dr John Mina (Past member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

I am interested in the study of the tumour-suppressor phosphatase PTEN, an enzyme which belongs to the protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) family. It has a cysteine residue that is essential for its activity, yet, renders the enzyme liable to oxidative damage.

My research involves the design and the chemical synthesis of chemical probes that exhibit inhibitory effect on PTEN and the application of these probes to investigate the mechanism by which oxidative damage takes place and results in abolishing the enzymatic activity.

John is now a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Osnabrueck, Germany.

John Phillips (Past member)

John Phillips (Past member)

Imperial College London
Email:
Website:

Working on using coated droplets and micro-particles for the extraction of membrane material from single cells with a holographic optical trapping system.

John is now a Grants Adviser at the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Julien Reboud (Past member)

Dr Julien Reboud (Past member)

University of Glasgow
Email:
Website:

I will contribute to the development of surface acoustic waves platforms, that can be interfaced with a variety of analytical techniques, such as the MAC chips or Mass spectrometry. SAW enable non-contact pumping, enhanced mixing, nebulisation, and the integration of multiple complex processing steps on a low-cost platform.

Julien is now a Lord Kelvin and Adam Smith Fellow in Synthetic Biology at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Ali Salehi-Reyhani

Dr Ali Salehi-Reyhani

Imperial College London
Email: ali.salehi-reyhani01@imperial.ac.uk
Website: www.chemicalbiology.ac.uk/

Microfluidic antibody capture (MAC) chips are a platform technology for single cell analysis.  Individual cells are able to be precisely loaded into single cell chambers, which contain an array of surface-immobilised capture agents.  By exploiting single molecule microscopy we’re able to quantitatively determine protein copy number from a single lysed cell.  Work will focus on translating and optimising the platform to answer specific biological questions, particularly for rare cell types such as circulating tumour cells.

Dr Karina Tveen Jensen

Dr Karina Tveen Jensen

Aston University
Email: k.tveen-jensen@aston.ac.uk
Website: aston.ac.uk/lhs/

Mass spectrometry offers a sensitive and specific approach to detect oxidative post-translational modifications. The project will expand on the use of diagnostic ions for precursor ion and neutral loss scanning of residues susceptible to oxidation and will apply this to map the effects of oxidation on activity of PTEN and SERCA in signalling. Protein arrays will be used to investigate novel binding partners and scaffold proteins, and the effects of oxidation on protein interactions.

Dr Rab Wilson

Dr Rab Wilson

University of Glasgow
Email: Rab.Wilson@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: www.gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/staff/robertwilson/

My research involves the  use of ultrasonic surface acoustic waves for both sample prep and sample introduction of single cell assays for mass spectrometry in order to probe the dynamics of reactive oxidative stress.

Dr Gemma Warren

Dr Gemma Warren

Aston University
Email: G.Warren@aston.ac.uk
Website:

Responsible for general technical support for Proxo researchers, maintenance and operation of the mass spectrometers, routine protein manipulation and support for data analysis. Involved in some independent research projects in the group using mass spectrometry techniques to analyse the effects of oxidation on biomolecules.

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Research Students

Michael Barclay

Michael Barclay

Imperial College London
Email: m.barclay11@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/chemicalbiology/doctoraltrainingcentre

PhD Project Title: Single Molecule Detection in Microfluidic Chips for the Analysis of Cell Signalling Pathways

My project involves the use of microfluidic antibody capture chips for the analysis of protein copy number from single cells. More specifically this device will be used to investigate the PTEN signaling pathway and understand the effect of oxidative damage to this tumor suppressor protein. Furthermore it may be possible to use this technique to quantify protein – protein interactions.

Stuart Calimport

Stuart Calimport

Aston University
Email: calimpos@aston.ac.uk
Website: aston.ac.uk/lhs/

PhD Project Title: Technologies to study protein oxidation in ageing – Investigating the Effect of Protein Oxidation on Protein Interactions

Working with advanced mass spectrometry and array-based platforms to elucidate the effects of oxidation of proteins in ageing, with particular emphasis on protein complex formation. Has a primary focus on PTEN, a key signalling protein involved in multiple pathways and in many diseases including neurological disorders, cancer and many diseases of ageing.

Juliet Collins

Juliet Collins

Imperial College London
Email: juliet.wilcox11@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/chemicalbiology/doctoraltrainingcentre

PhD Project Title: Design, Synthesis and Application of Chemical Biology Probes for Measuring Oxidative Protein Damage

To design and synthesise a novel small molecule that will bind selectively to an oxidatively damaged form of the PTEN protein. The molecule will be fluorescently tagged in order to investigate the amount and localization of the damaged protein in a cell.

Niall Geoghegan

Niall Geoghegan

University of Glasgow
Email: 0502790G@student.gla.ac.uk
Website: gla.ac.uk/rasor

PhD Project Title: Life-time and correlation imaging with microfluidics

Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) is a highly sensitive time correlated single photon counting technique. It is an extremely versatile analysis technique and can also be used in parallel with other existing fluorescent imaging and analysis techniques to offer a broader understanding of the physical processes involved at a molecular level. The aim of my project is to develop our current experimental set-up so that it can be used for FCS analysis and Fluorescent Lifetime Imaging microscopy (FLIM) simultaneously to explore changes in pH, increased oxygen, protein binding interactions, as well the concentrations of certain ions, intracellularly and with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Lays Gierakowski

Lays Gierakowski

Imperial College London
Email: l.gierakowski11@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/chemicalbiology/doctoraltrainingcentre

PhD Project Title: Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy for the Understanding and Analysis of Protein Modifications Caused by Oxidative Damage

I’m interested in developing a quantitative method  based on Electron-Vibration-Vibration (EVV) 2-dimensional infrared (2DIR) spectroscopy for the characterization of protein oxidation. EVV 2DIR spectroscopy has been chosen especially given its success in decongesting infrared spectra, which may provide information which wouldn’t otherwise be resolved. I plan to use peptides and small proteins containing tyrosine and/or cysteine amino acid residues in order to gain insight on how to track oxidative damage in proteins relevant to ageing.

Sabah Pasha

Sabah Pasha

Aston University
Email: pashas@aston.ac.uk
Website: aston.ac.uk/lhs/

PhD Project Title: Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Proteins As Models Of Protein Oxidation In Ageing

The activity of the Ca2+ ATPase from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SERCA) is known to be affected by oxidation. The project will map the oxidative modifications in SERCA and other SR proteins from skeletal muscle in relation to their activity to understand changes in aging and inflammation.

Ben Tiller

Ben Tiller

University of Glasgow
Email: 1108588T@student.gla.ac.uk
Website: gla.ac.uk/rasor

PhD Project Title: Using acoustics to probe physioloical in microdrops and cells

The aim of the project is to develop an acoustic sensory system based around using phononic crystals to focus the acoustic field in such a way as to be able to probe cells. This should enable physical changes in individual cells to be monitored during oxidative stress. The technology has the ability to be integrated into a microfluidic work stream including the MAC chip programme, such that these physical changes (density or elasticity) can be linked with biochemical markers.

Ivan Verrastro

Ivan Verrastro

Aston University
Email: verrasti@aston.ac.uk
Website: aston.ac.uk/lhs/

PhD Project Title: Targetted mass spectrometry studies of protein oxidation in ageing and its relationship to function

The tumor suppressor phosphatase PTEN will be used as a model protein to understand mechanisms leading to oxidative post-translational modifications in proteins and how they are functionally connected with ageing. Mass spectrometry techniques, in particular tandem MS, are useful to identify the nature of the modifications and to detect where in the protein the oxidation events have occurred. The aim of my project is to test the hypothesis that only certain oxidative modifications may affect the function of signalling pathways and alter cell behaviour.

Douglas Wylie

Douglas Wylie

Imperial College London
Email: d.wylie11@imperial.ac.uk
Website: imperial.ac.uk/chemicalbiology/doctoraltrainingcentre

PhD Project Title: Novel nanotechnologies for delivering and removing materials from single cells

My research area is mainly working on the Smart Droplet Microtool (SDM) platform with the aim of fine-tuning the SDM manufacturing and manipulation process to allow for more consistent, robust and higher throughput rates in order to obtain more reliable, quantitative and statistically relevant single cell sampling data.

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