In our FNP-funded "TEAM" project we are using DNA as a building material do design and build novel nanostructures that will be able to interact with proteins in programmable ways. Find out more about FNP TEAM funding below. On this page we will keep you updated on out TEAM mmebers, publicatipons and other news.

FNP TEAM funding (FNP website)

Our TEAM team

Jonathan Heddle

Fearless Leader.

Gerrit Wilkens

Originally coming from Germany, I joined the Heddle lab as a PhD student. During my PhD project I am working on stabilisation hydrophobic proteins using DNA origami based devices. Before I started this project, I studied Biology in Hamburg, Germany. During my master at the university hospital of Eppendorf I did research on the structure of biofilm inducing proteins.

Dhanasekaran Balakrishnan

I am a Bioinformatician from India and have joined Heddle's lab as a PhD student and here I am trying to develop a DNA nanodevice which captures for interaction with artificial cells. Before joining Heddle's lab, I was working in Indian Institute of Science as a Research Assistant and completed couple of projects. Outside of the lab, I am interested in Photography and travelling

Anna Świetlikowska

I am a master student at molecular biotechnology at Jagiellonian University, my former experience during my bachelor studies focused mainly in bacterial genetics. As a part of DNA origami group in Heddle Lab we are aiming to develop molecular systems for manipulation of proteins for use in artificial cells. For this purpose we will use (yes, you guessed well) DNA origami! Personally, I am also interested in cinematography, languages and travelling.

Piotr Stępień

Polish biophysicist with expertise in membrane mimetic systems and various spectroscopic techniques. Interplay between proteins and lipids always fascinated me so why not add DNA into the mix? Add to this my passion for LEGO bricks and problem solving and the only answer is bionanoscience! In Heddle lab I am trying to prepare DNA-based nanorobots for delivery of membrane proteins in oriented fashion. My other interests include: Electron Paramagnetic Resonance and making music — that’s why they call me true resonance man.

Md. Sirajul Islam

I am working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Heddle lab. My current researches focus on exploring methodology for controlled interaction of proteins merging diverse techniques such as DNA nanorobots and microfluidics. I also worked as Postdoctoral Fellow in Hokkaido University and Kansai University, Japan. I received my PhD in Biophysics from Hokkaido University, Japan. Before that I achieved my Bachelor and Master’s degrees from the Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. My research experiences include the purification and handling of cytoskeletal and membrane proteins, designing, synthesizing and building of the DNA origami and its interaction with proteins.

Abdulhalim Kiliç

My degree in Molecular Biology-Genetics and Biotechnology (Turkey) with a specialization in “artificial cell membrane models” encouraged and led me to the area of “artificial cells” using a bottom-up approach and necessitated to extend my skills on the emerging technologies in the field of synthetic biology. To realize my ideal and gain experience, fortunately I joined to the Heddle lab as a Postdoctoral Researcher. My main focus is on the controlled reconstitution of membrane-proteins onto protocells via designed nanorobots in conjunction with a droplet-based microfluidic system. My research experiences include liposome production, functional lipid bilayer construction, cell– surface interactions, utilization of surface-sensitive techniques (QCM-D, SPR).

Sylwia Świątek

I studied chemistry at Jagiellonian University and AGH University of Science and Technology. I will soon complete my PhD at Jerzy Haber Institute of Catalysis and Surface Chemistry Polish Academy of Science. During that time I studied structural and functional relationship of bovine beta-lactoglobulin with wide range of methods (X-ray diffraction, quartz crystal microbalance, dynamic light scattering). I am motivated to further broaden my experience and to enter the new field of protein structure biology by joining Heddle Lab as a technician. In my spare time I enjoy being in nature. I am interested in fitness, gardening and reptiles.


  • Sakai, Y., Islam, M. S., Adamiak, M., Shiu, S.C.-C., Tanner, J. A., Heddle, J. G., (2018) DNA Aptamers for the Functionalisation of DNA Origami Nanostructures, Genes 9, pp. 571 [MDPI]
    A summary of how DNA aptamers have been used alongside DNA origami.
  • Shiu, S.C.-C., Kinghorn, A.B., Sakai, Y., Cheung, Y-W., Heddle, J.G., Tanner, J.A. (2018) The Three S's for Aptamer‐Mediated Control of DNA Nanostructure Dynamics: Shape, Self‐Complementarity, and Spatial Flexibility, ChemBioChem 19, pp. 1900-1906 [Wiley]
    A guide for designing aptamers to work with DNA origami.
  • Tang, M. S., Shiu, S. C-C., Godonoga, M., Cheung, Y-W., Liang, S., Dirkzwager, R. M., Kinghorn, A. B., Fraser, L. A., Heddle, J. G.*, Tanner, J. A.* (2018) An aptamer-enabled DNA nanobox for protein sensing, Nanomedicine 14(4), pp. 1161-1168 [Elsevier]
    We show that the opening and closing of a DNA origami box can be controlled by molecular locks that respond to a malarial diagnostic signal.

  • Other News

  • October 2018 - With the arrival of Abdulhalim, our TEAM team is now at full membership!
  • September 2018 - All TEAM members presentetd at the Bionano 2018 International Workshop.