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Professor Syma Khalid MChem PhD

Professor of Computational Biophysics

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Professor Syma Khalid is Professor of Computational Biophysics within Chemistry at the University of Southampton.



Syma graduated with a first class degree in Chemistry from the University of Warwick in 2000. She remained at Warwick to read for a PhD under the supervision of Professor P Mark Rodger. After obtaining her PhD in 2003, she moved to the University of Oxford as a postdoc in Professor Mark Sansom's lab, to study the structure-function relationship of bacterial membrane proteins. In 2007, she was appointed as RCUK fellow in Chemistry at the University of Southampton, in 2010 was appointed to full lectureship. In 2016 she was promoted to full professor She has ~15 years of experience in the development and application of molecular dynamics simulations to the study of biological molecules. Her research interests are centred around the dynamics of biomolecules in and around biological membranes. Her formal training as a chemist combined with her interest in the biological relevance of the systems she studies enables her to adopt a truly multi-disciplinary approach; collaborators include Bert van den Berg (Newcastle), Ben Luisi (Cambridge) and Peter Bond (A*STAR, Singapore). Syma's international reputation is reflected in the invitations she receives to speak at national and international meetings each year.

Syma has authored over 40 peer-reviewed papers and 4 book chapters and is on the editorial board of Scientific Reports. She serves on the management group that leads CCPBiosim. In addition, she is a local section committee member of the RSC, and also serves on the management committee of the British Biophysical Society.



Research interests

Computational Bacteriology

My research involves the application of computational techniques to the study of large biological molecules and systems including bacterial outer membrane proteins and nucleic acids. A key area of research involves capturing the biological complexity of bacterial membranes in our simulations, with a particular focus on the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria. In this context are developing computational models and tools to link biomolecular simulations and systems biology. We are also interested in applying the knowledge gained from studying biological systems to aid the design of synthetic systems for applications in bionanotechnology.

We have strong links with experimental groups in biophysics, biochemistry, chemical biology and structural biology.

Research funding


  • BBSRC Responsive mode grant: BB/M029573/1 (£322k)
  • BBSRC Industrial CASE award with Oxford Nanopore Technologies (£40k)
  • BBSRC Responsive mode grant: BBH0006581 (£295k)
  • University of Southampton Start-up funds (2 PhD studentships and £50k)
  • University of Southampton, Institute of Life Sciences: 3-month PDRA
  • University of Southampton, Institute of Life Sciences: PhD studentship
  • Industrially funded studentship (Oxford Nanopore technologies: £80k)
  • Industrially funded PDRA (Oxford Nanopore Technologies: £100k)
  • University of Southampton, Institute of Life Sciences: (£20k)
  • University of Southampton, strategic funding (£22k)

As Co-I

  • EU-funded Marie Curie ITN grant as Co-PI (€3.82M) PI is Alison Rodger (Warwick)
  • MRC-funded Project on AMR (theme 1) as Co-PI (£5m) PI is Christopher Dowson (Warwick)

Research group

Computational Systems Chemistry

Research project(s)

Khalid: Self Assembly of DNA-lipid complexes for gene therapy

Khalid: Transport mechanisms in bacteria: Autotransporters

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Key Publications


Book Chapter


Professor Syma Khalid
Chemistry University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 27/2007

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