- Molecular processes underpinning neurodegenerative disease
- Structure and function of cell membranes
- Development and application of solid-state NMR and other biophysical techniques for the analysis of biological systems
The Williamson group’s research focusses on the development and application of solid-state NMR to investigate the molecular processes that underpin health and disease. Currently the groups research is focussed on two key areas:
1) Determining how the cellular environment influences the formation of the protein fibrils associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. These studies seek to understand how the cellular environment influences the conformation of the fibrils and how this impacts the onset and development of disease.
2) Investigate the structure and function of the cell membranes, to understand how the complex interactions between the lipid bilayer and integral membrane proteins can influence the transport of information and materials into the cell. These studies are providing insights into the modes of action of antiseptics and aiding in the identification of new chemistries to aid the uptake and targeting of drugs.
These studies have driven the development and application of novel solid-state NMR methodologies. Employing a combination of ultra-high fields, hyperpolarization techniques and fast magic angle spinning we have developed techniques that permit the detection of naturally occuring NMR sensitive isotopes in biological materials and the in-vivo analysis of protein conformation.