Natural Nanomachine Research

Understanding enzymes such as DNA gyrase will help us to build artificial versions and to design new drugs such as antibiotics.



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Protein Nanoscience Research

Designing and building new protein supersturctures will allow new kinds of drug delivery system and ultimately, new kinds of nanoscale biological machines to be constructed.


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DNA Nanoscience Research

We are trying to build designed, programmable DNA structures for sensing, diagnosis and as components of nanorobotics, predominantly using the DNA origami technique.

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Our Team



We are an ambitious lab. Individual researchers work on a variety of topics and with a wide range of expertise. We are always learning from each other and work together as a team.

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Latest News

For more details, see our news archive and follow us on social media


Heddle lab publishes new paper: Discovers how life began!

November 2017

Well, not quite but we have made an interesting contribution to the on-going research into how life go started. In our paper just published in Molecular Biology And Evolution we looked at the current systems of replication in existing cells and noted that they require both nucleic acids and proteins. We extrapolated back in time and asked it was possible that the initial self-replicator, ancestral to all life could also have been nucleic acid and protein (peptides). Given the right starting conditions and the right building blocks present it seems as if the answer is yes, it is possible though peering so far back in time inevitably raises more questions than answers. The work was done in close collaboration with our colleagues Bernard Piette and Ann Taormina at Durham University, UK and we hope it will be an interesting contribution to the continuing debate regarding the origins of life."

Book Chapter Published

October 2017

We are happy to announce that we have published a book chapter entitled "TRAPped Structures: Making Artificial Cages with a Ring Protein". Published in "Advances in Bioinspired and Biomedical Materials Volume 1" an ACS publication.

Fully Funded Masters position positions available

July 2017

As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells, we will be recruiting one masters student to start in September 2017. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. the student will receive a generous stipend. You can download application details for Masters student position. or via Euraxess. Closing dates has been extended to October 13th.

Soumyananda Chakraborti Becomes a Homing Laureate!

August 2017

Soumya has been awarded a presitgious Homing Fellowship from FNP to carry out a new and exciting bionanoscience project entitled "A Programmable Modular, Molecular “Ball-and-Glove” with Potential for Drug Delivery". As part of the project he will be funding a PhD to join the lab to work on the project You can download application details for the PhD position here Closing date is September 5th 2017. Congratulations Soumya!

Postdoctoral positions available

July 2017

As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells, we will be recruiting three postdoctoral scientists, two of which will begin in October 2017. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. All positions are fully (and generously) funded. You can download application details for the first Postdoctoral Fellow positon, and the second Postdoctoral Fellow positon, Closing date is September 1st 2017.

Studentships available on TEAM grant.

July 2017

As part of our FNP-TEAM grant awarded to carry out ground-breaking research to design and build DNA origami - protein hybrid machines for use in constructing artificial cells, we will be recruiting three postdoctoral scientists, two PhD students and one masters student. All to start in September 2017. The research will be carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg, Germany. All positions are fully (and generously) funded. You can download application details for Masters student position, the First PhD student position (DNA nanoscience), and the Second PhD student position (protein nanoscience). Closing dates are August 10th.

Technician position: Join our gyrase team!

July 2017

One technician (part time) to research unusual gyrases funded by OPUS, is now available. The work is relevant to diseases such as malaria and toxoplasmosis and, it is hoped, will contribute to development of new treatments. This is a great opportunity to become part of an international group of researchers. Deadline: August 7th 2017 Download the full application details

Heddle Lab awarded new grant.

June 2017

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a prestigious FNP TEAM grant for a new DNA-origami based project where we hope to design and build DNA nanobots for novel uses including helping to build artificial cells. The research, carried out in collaboration with the group of Ilia Platzman at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research aims to design and build functional systems built from DNA, which it is hoped, may have eventual applications in medicine and biotechnology. Thanks FNP! The new positions to be filled will include three postdoctoral scientists, two PhD students and one Masters student. Initial information can be found here.

New paper on molecular paleontology

June 2017

The idea that we may be able to use science to bring back extinct animals is a familiar theme in science fiction. But how about long "dead" molecules? Can they be "resurrected"? We have recently published a paper reviewing this topic in the Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. Playfully entitled "Resurrecting the Dead (Molecules)" the work explains how ancient molecules preserved in the environment can be recovered and analysed and how computational techniques can now be used to predict the identity of ancient molecules which can then be produced and tested. Read the paper here.

New Technician and Masters positions to open soon.

May 2017

We will soon be recruiting postgraduate students and technical staff to join our Polonez team working on designing and building novel DNA nanorobts. Stay one step ahead of the competition and find out some advance information about the positions here.

PhD, Technician and Masters positions now open.

May 2017

We are now seeking postgraduate students and technical staff to join our expanding team working on biochemistry/structural biology projects related to our OPUS-funded DNA gyrase project. More details, icluding application documents, can be found here for the PhD studentship, here for the Masters studentship, and here for the technical position, Contact the Heddle lab for more information

Yusuke Sakai in the Heddle lab wins "Polonez" Fellowship

May 2017

Yusuke has succeeded in being awarded a prestigious Polonez fellowship to design and build novel DNA robots with potential therapeutic use. Congratulations Yusuke!

Postdoctoral position is now open.

May 2017

We are now seeking a postdcotoral researcher in biochemistry/structural biology to work on our OPUS-funded DNA gyrase project. More details, icluding application documents, can be found here Contact the Heddle lab for more information

Movie of a protein cage breaking down!

April 2017

Not so recent news but sometimes the coolest results are burried in supplementary materials, especially when they are movies. This is a high speed AFM movie showing our artificial cage protein being broken down. Amazing! Thanks to the collaboration with the labs of Profs. Toshio Ando and Takayuki Uchihashi. The paper was published in Nano Letters Figure reprinted (adapted) with permission from Imamura, M. et al. Nano Lett. 15, 1331-1335 (2015). Copyright (2017) American Chemical Society







Heddle publishes new paper

April 2017

Protein cages are cool, cryo-EM is cool. Now find out how cool they are together in a new review paper published by members of the Heddle lab in partnership with our collaborator Kenji Iwasaki (Osaka University). The work was published in Current Opinion in Structural Biology.









Heddle lab wins OPUS funding

November 2016

Thanks to NCN, we were successful in obtaining funding for our proposed research into unusual DNA gyrases!















Heddle lab will host Bionano 2016 symposium

October 2016

We are proud to organise and host an international workshop on the topic of Bionanoscience. You can access the website for the conference here.













Heddle lab wins Symfonia funding, ranking first nationally

August 2016

We are happy to announce that lab received funding for our proposed work into protein engineering!

Dmitry Ghilarov wins Polonez funding to work in the Heddle Lab

July 2016

Dmitry Ghilarov has joined the lab after winning a prestigious Polonez grant to carry out research on DNA gyrase.