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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
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Dr David A Rusling PhD

Lecturer in Pharmacology, Principal Investigator in Nucleic Acids

Dr David A Rusling's photo

Dr David Rusling is Lecturer of Pharmacology and Principal Investigator of Nucleic Acids in Biological Sciences.

Career History

2015-present: Lecturer in Pharmacology. University of Southampton, UK.
2014-2015: Visiting Scholar. New York University, US.
2013-2014: EPSRC Principal Investigator. University of Southampton, UK.
2010-2014: BBSRC Researcher Co-Investigator. University of Southampton, UK.
2008-2010: Postdoctoral Associate. University of Bristol, UK.
2005-2008: Postdoctoral Assistant. University of Southampton, UK.

Academic Qualifications

2002-2005: PhD Chemistry. University of Southampton, UK.
2002-2005: BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and Pharmacology. University of Southampton, UK.

Research interests

What are we doing? Our research is focused on exploiting the processes that govern DNA self-assembly and recognition for applications in medicine, nanotechnology and synthetic biology. For example, we have developed a class of programmable DNA-binding molecules that are capable of recognising any given DNA sequence under physiological conditions: triplex-forming oligonucleotides (Nucleic Acids Res 2005). Moreover, we have recently shown that such sequence-specific recognition agents provide a useful means to introduce biological and chemical components into two and three-dimensional nanostructures assembled from DNA, including those built from double-crossover (ACS Nano 2012) and tensegrity triangle motifs (Angewandte Chemie 2014). This approach allows the programmable positioning of molecules in two and three-dimensional space, and we are currently working towards applications that include the organisation of nanoelectronics, the direction of enzymatic and chemical cascades, and the structure determination of periodically positioned molecules by X-ray diffraction. How do we do it? We use various biochemical, biophysical and biological techniques to examine the affinity, specificity, kinetics and thermodynamics of DNA recognition, including electrophoresis, chemical and enzymatic protection assays, circular dichroism, thermal melting, fluorescence resonance energy transfer, atomic force microscopy and crystallisation. This is a cross-disciplinary effort that involves collaborations with Keith Fox (University of Southampton), Tom Brown (University of Oxford) and Ned Seeman (New York University).

Research group

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Affiliate research group

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS)

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Book Chapters



BIOL2010 Flow of genetic information
BIOL3018 Molecular pharmacology
BIOL3027 Selective toxicity
BIOL3052 Biotechnology and therapeutics

Project Supervisor

BIOL3034 In depth research project
BIOL3050 Short research project


BIOL1020 Core skills in the life sciences
BIOL2010 Flow of genetic information

Dr David A Rusling
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 85/4041

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