Living Systems Institute



The LSI comprises twenty-five research groups from 4 University Departments with around 160 staff and PhD students.

Bhinge Group

Stem cell models of neurodegenerative diseases 
We aim to understand why neurons die in neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration. By applying CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to patient-derived stem cells, we generate clinically relevant human models of neurodegeneration. Using a combination of genomics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput functional screens, we interrogate these models to elucidate the regulatory networks that drive neuronal death. Our ultimate goal is to identify key disease drivers that can be used to develop therapies to halt or even reverse the relentless neuronal loss. 

Daum Group

CryoEM of protein assemblies and molecular machines
We employ electron cryo microscopy and tomography to investigate how proteins assemble into molecular machines.

Gielen Group

High-Throughput Microfluidics Screening
The overarching theme of our research is the development of novel high-throughput technologies for molecular and cellular screens, particularly antimicrobial discovery and multicellular spheroid assays. We are combining microfluidic tools with optical read-outs and state-of-the-art data analysis methods including machine learning to interrogate molecular function or decipher cell population heterogeneities.

Gold Group

Structural Cell Biology
We combine different methods in cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM) with biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of multi-component molecular machines in cells. 

Goodfellow Group 

Mathematical modelling and analysis for living systems
My research is focussed on the development and use of mathematical and computational methods to help us understand the dynamics of complex biological systems, with a focus on problems in healthcare.

Guo Group

Stem cells and synthetic embryogenesis
We study pluripotent stem cells, cell fate specification and morphogenesis in early embryogenesis using embryo models.

Harmansa Group

Morphomechanics – Shaping Growing Tissues
We are interested in the mechanical aspects of tissue growth and morphogenesis. The group aims to understand how mechanical stresses arise and shape growing tissues during embryonic development with a particularly focus on the mechanical role of the extracellular matrix.

Harmer Group

Enzyme cascades in Living Systems
My research uses enzyme cascades to generate new chemicals and biological structures for human and veterinary healthcare.

Housden Group

Genetic screening technologies for drug-target discovery
Our research is focused on the development and application of new genetic screening methods to enable discovery of new therapies for human diseases.

Jékely Group

Neural Circuits and Behaviour
We reconstruct and study whole-body neural circuits in marine invertebrate larvae to understand the control of movements and the evolution of nervous systems.

Kattnig Group

Quantum Biology and Computational Biophysics
Using computational modelling, we study biological effects that are quantum mechanical in nature. Specifically, we focus on biological processes, such as magnetoreception, that acquire sensitivity to weak magnetic fields as a result of the dynamics of electron and nuclear spins.

Moebius Group

Effects of the physical world on dynamics in biological systems
We are interested in how the physical world shapes the dynamics in biological systems. 

Monier Group

Cross-scale systems biology of viral infection
Our group combines omics approaches and ecophysiology to study viral infection and its impact across all scales of biological organisation, from genome structure to cellular physiology, and from single cells to ecosystems and global processes.

Pagliara Group

Membrane Transport in Living Systems
Our research focuses on understanding the membrane transport mechanisms underpinning phenotypic diversification without genetic variations within cellular populations. Our work focuses on the study on antimicrobial resistance in individual bacteria which constitutes one of the greatest challenges for modern society. We use a variety of cutting-edge approaches including microfluidics and next generation sequencing

Phillips Group

Protein Choreography Group
We link protein function with choreographed dynamic changes in structure to answer fundamental questions in biology, to engineer new biotechnology tools and to discover new medicines – achieved by developing cutting-edge experimental and computational approaches.

Richards Group

Mathematical Modelling of Living Systems
The Richards Group uses a combination of mathematical modelling, computer simulation, machine learning, image analysis and wet-lab experiments to study a variety of areas of biology and biomedicine

Ryu Group

Developmental Neurobiology of Stress Response
We study how stress exposure during development leads to long-lasting changes in the brain and leads to disease susceptibility.

Scholpp Group

Contact-mediated signalling in development and disease
Cell-cell communication lie at the heart of our research because intracellular exchange of information is fundamental to embryogenesis and tissue homeostasis, and mis-regulated communication causes many diseases.

Smith Group

Pluripotent Stem Cell Biology
Our research goal is to elucidate the molecular genetic foundation of pluripotency in the mammalian embryo and derivative stem cell states and to understand how lineage competence is achieved. We currently have openings for a computational biologist and for wet lab postdocs.

Solana Group

Stem Cell Biology and Evolution
All multicellular organisms have pluripotent cells that can differentiate into multiple cell types. In animals, these are present in embryos but sometimes as well in the adult stages. Often this happens in animals that can regenerate and even use this capacity for asexual reproduction. Our group is interested in stem cells, pluripotency, differentiation, and their evolution across the animal tree of life.

Tsaneva-Atanasova Group

Mathematics for Health and Life Sciences
We address challenges in Health and Life Sciences by means of mathematical modelling and analysis.

Vollmer Group

Nano and Quantum Biosensing Group
I am pursuing a multi-disciplinary research initiative in Molecular, Nano- and Quantum Sensors and Systems that is unique in the UK (and the world) and that brings together the research streams of nanophotonics, nanoplasmonics, quantum optics, molecular mechanics (molecular machines, synthetic bio) and in the future, also molecular electronics and neuroscience. This new pan-disciplinary area, I believe, will be a very large and upcoming research playground at the cross-roads of cutting edge experimental and theoretical sciences; there will be applications in health, nanotechnology, metrology, environment, security, and astronomy; it touches on core subjects in physics, quantum optics, optics, biophysics, engineering, molecular mechanics and biochemistry.

Wakefield Group

Engineering Drosophila to understand chromosome segregation/Engineering Galleria to understand infection and immunity
We fuse molecular biology, high resolution live-cell imaging, structural biology, proteomics and bioinformatics with immersive, intuitive observational techniques to understand the morphogenesis of the mitotic spindle, and to create new tools in the medically-relevant model organism, Galleria mellonella.

Wan Group

We study the behaviour and physiology of motile microorganisms, particularly the motility, dynamics and control of propulsion-generating appendages called cilia and flagella. 

Wedgwood Group

Collective dynamics in biological networks
My research uses a combination of mathematical modelling and electrophysiology experiments to understand how collective rhythms, such as synchronised oscillations, are generated in biological tissues.

West Group

RNA and gene regulation
We study transcription by RNA polymerase II in human cells and how it is regulated to control gene expression. 

Williams Group

Microsporidia diversity and host-parasite interactions
We use a broad range of tools to better understand how microsporidia have adapted to intracellular life in a diversity of animal hosts.