Bionanoscience and Biochemistry Laboratory

Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology
Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology

The research group is a large multidisciplinary group spanning enzymology, biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology and cell biology. We use advanced molecular biology and biochemistry tools to produce and express and purify natural and designed biological molecules. These structures are characterised using a range of biochemical, cell biology and biophysical techniques available in the lab such as PAGE, W. blots, DLS etc). We also work closely with core facilities within the institute who offer services and collaboration in in X-ray crystallography and we also include experienced crystallographers in tour team able to solve protein X-ray crystal structures. Our team also includes experts in cryo-EM data collection and analysis and we have excellent access to the neighbouring national synchrotron facility (Solaris) which also houses a new state-of-the art Titan Krios Cryo-EM which we regularly use for single particle data collection.

The Heddle lab is interested in designing and understanding natural and artificial nanomachines. For natural nanomachines we are particularly interest in DNA gyrase and understanding not only how it works but how to inhibit it with novel inhibitors. To this end we are working with DNA-mimicking proteins that interact with gyrase as well as trying to understand an unusual gyrase found in the malaria parasite (Plasmodium spp.) For artificial nanomachines we use protein design tools coupled with structural techniques (X-ray crystallography and Cryo-EM) to design and produce artificial structures, notably controllable protein nanocages. We try to endow these structures with controllable, dynamic properties. Win such protein design we are interested in both basic research in and translational research (particularly medical applications). We also use DNA as a material to design and build nanostructures using the DNA origami technique. Here we are also beginning not only to design new classes of structure but to investigate how they may be useful as biotechnology/therapeutic tools.