UKRI Molecular Mechanics Initiative

Building Collaborations at the Physics of Life Interface

The Molecular Mechanics Initiative is a cutting-edge research programme aiming to make a step change in how we detect, analyse and manipulate molecules at the ultimate single-molecule level.

The programme will develop a novel nanosensing technique that can measure femto-Newton forces of single molecules for the first time. The technology developed in this programme will not only sense forces exerted by enzymes that undergo conformational changes, but also allow the manipulation of complex motions of active enzymes during substrate turnover. Such control offers the possibility of making conformational states of an enzyme more likely than others, and can be used to control enzymatic activity. Demonstrating this capability will prepare the ground for future manipulation and exploitation of synthetic biomolecular machinery and designing enzymes in the laboratory in the longer term.

The goals of this research programme will be achieved by advancing interdisciplinary expertise in nanosensing and optical manipulation (Vollmer team), enzymology and structural characterisation of proteins and their dynamics (Littlechild team), surface characterisation and enzyme conjugation methods (Winlove team), theoretical analysis of sensor signals using stochastic thermodynamics (Anders team), and testing of enzyme-linked nanosensors for clinical diagnostics of fungal infections (Gow team).

Open positions

Interested in joining this interdisciplinary research programme?

Currently advertised positions can be found here:

Postdoc position in the Stochastic Thermodynamics theory team (application deadline: 8 August 2019)

Prof Frank Vollmer

Optical Sensing and Manipulation

Exeter Living Systems Institute

F.Vollmer AT exeter.ac.uk

Mr Narima Eerqing
PhD student

Optical Sensing and Manipulation

Exeter Living Systems Institute

Ms Katya Zossimova
PhD student

Optical Sensing and Manipulation

Exeter Living Systems Institute

Mr Sivaraman Subramanian (Siva)
PhD student

Optical Sensing and Manipulation

Exeter Living Systems Institute

Dr Hsin-Yu Wu (Ryan)
Postdoc

Optical Sensing and Manipulation

Exeter Living Systems Institute

Postdoc

Optical Sensing and Manipulation

Living Systems Institute

Prof Janet Anders

Stochastic Thermodynamics Theory

Physics Building

j.anders AT exeter.ac.uk

Postdoc (to be recruited)

Stochastic Thermodynamics Theory

Physics Building

Prof Jennifer Littlechild

Enzyme Structure and Chemistry

Exeter Biocatalysis Centre

J.A.Littlechild AT exeter.ac.uk

Postdoc

Enzyme Structure and Chemistry

Exeter Biocatalysis Centre

Dr Michail Isupov
Senior Researcher

Enzyme Structure and Chemistry

Exeter Biocatalysis Centre

Ms Simona Frustaci
PhD student

Enzyme Structure and Chemistry

Exeter Biocatalysis Centre

Prof Peter Winlove

Biophysics of the Extracellular Matrix

Physics building

C.P.Winlove AT exeter.ac.uk

Prof Neil Gow

Fungal Diagnostics

Geoffrey Pope building

N.Gow AT exeter.ac.uk

Postdoc (to be recruited)

Fungal Diagnostics

Geoffrey Pope building

Open positions

Interested in joining this interdisciplinary research programme?

Currently advertised positions can be found here:

Postdoc position in the Stochastic Thermodynamics theory team (application deadline: 8 August 2019)