Increasing our understanding of biomolecular interactions through high resolution Atomic Force Microscopy
My research interests lie in understanding how variations in DNA structure can affect fundamental biological processes such as replication and transcription. To that end I am motivated by determining biomolecular mechanisms of action, with a long-term view to improved development of therapeutics. My scientific achievements include the first observation of single-molecule variations in the Watson-Crick double-helix structure. I have been awarded both MRC and EPSRC fellowships to investigate the effect of DNA structure and topology on DNA-protein binding interactions. This work aims to improve our understanding of anti-cancer and antibacterial therapeutics and their targets towards an improved drug discovery pipeline.
Our immune system relies on nanomachines, such as the membrane attack complex (MAC) to kill invasive bacteria in our blood. Our research, published in the EMBO journal and Nature Communications, provides us with a better understanding of how the immune system kills bacteria. This may guide the development of new therapies that harness the immune system against bacterial infections, and strategies that repurpose the immune system to act against other rogue cells in the body.
Alice is visiting the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in Banff, Alberta to present our work on DNA topology at The Topology of Nucleic Acids: Research at the Interface of Low-Dimensional Topology, Polymer Physics and Molecular Biology.
If you’d like to see the talk, you can watch it here.
On the 10th December 2018, Kavit attended the ‘Physics of Life PoLNET2 2018 Symposium: Molecules, Mechanics, Medicine and More!’ at the University of York. The interdisciplinary symposium aimed to showcase collaborative projects across Biology and Physics with discussions ranging from evolution to epigenetics.
New antibiotics are desperately needed: without them antimicrobial resistance is predicted to kill more people than cancer. An international collaboration between scientists at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), University of Oxford, IBM, STFC Daresbury Laboratory and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has shown that our own bodies may provide an answer.
Kavit Main has joined the group to carry out a research project for his MSc in Cancer at the UCL Cancer Institute. His project aims to use Atomic Force Microscopy to gain single-molecule insights into supercoiled DNA-topoisomerase interactions.
Aside from academia, Kavit practises Nasta’liq and Devanagari calligraphy, Mughal miniature painting and enjoys Urdu poetry and hiking.
The cover of the current issue of ACS Synthetic Biology highlights the our collaborative research project with UCL Chemistry and the National Physical Laboratory to engineer a programmable inside-out “virus”. This everted “virus” is designed to deliver functional proteins into live cells.
An E. coli bacterium with an outer membrane partially removed by the de-novo designed antimicrobial peptide Tilamin