Justin Benesch

Justin is a now a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Associate Professor, and Tutorial Fellow in Physical Chemistry at University College. Justin studied Chemistry at the University of Oxford, as a member of Hertford College. In 2001 he started a PhD in the laboratory of Carol Robinson in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. During his graduate studies he was a member of Gonville & Caius College. After his PhD he spent a year as an MRC Discipline Hopping Fellow, during which he learnt electron microscopy techniques in Helen Saibil’s lab in Birkbeck College, London. In 2013 Justin was awarded the Alfred Tissières award from Cell Stress Society International.

Reid Alderson

Reid studied Biochemistry (B.S.) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is now a DPhil student in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, in which he is also supervised by Ad Bax and Andy Baldwin. Alongside other biophysical tools, Reid studies the structure and function of biomolecules with NMR spectroscopy and native mass spectrometry.
(Since Oct 2014)

Virginia Casablancas


Virginia is a doctoral student with the Systems Approaches to Biomedical Science CDT and has joined the group for her first rotation to study the mechanisms of amyloid protein aggregation and inhibition using NMR, mass spectrometry and computational tools. She is jointly supervised by Andy Baldwin and collaborators at LillyUK and is a student at St Anne’s College.

Virginia completed an MRes in Molecular Biophysics at King’s College London, funded by a LaCaixa Fellowship for Postgraduate Studies in Europe. During her masters thesis in Prof. James McDonnell’s lab, she focused on the structural asymmetry and allostery of the immunoglobulin E constant region. She previously obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain).

Shane Chandler

Shane completed his MChem undergraduate studies at the University of Durham and undertook an industrial placement with GlaxoSmithKline in his final year.  He is interested in developing and applying mass spectrometry techniques and methodologies to dynamical protein assemblies such as sHSPs. This will involve combining native mass spectrometry approaches including ion mobility and hydrogen/deuterium exchange strategies. Shane joined the group and University College in October 2014 and throughout his DPhil he will also spend time with Waters (Manchester, UK) as part of his BBSRC iCASE studentship.
(Since Oct 2014)

Max Hantke

Max works at the interface of physics and biology. His PhD studies focused on high-throughput flash X-ray imaging enabled by X-ray free-electron lasers (XFEL). His interests lie in method development and structural studies of inherently heterogeneous biological entities such as proteins, protein complexes, organelles, and virions. Max is now working towards combining the methodology of X-ray laser imaging and mass spectrometry to study transient interactions of proteins.

Max completed his doctoral studies in biophysics at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue his research in Oxford. He joined the group in 2017

Dominik Saman

Dominik completed his MSci in Chemistry and Molecular Physics at Imperial College London. In his masters thesis, he focused on studying the thermal stability and conformational dynamics of adenylate kinase and its mutants using different fluorescence techniques. He now uses mass spectrometry to study coassemblies of various small heat shock proteins, their interactions, and relevance to biological function. Dominik is a Clarendon and John Henry Jones scholar and a student at Balliol College. He is supervised jointly with Carol Robinson.

Carolin Schulte

Carolin is a doctoral student with the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP and joined the group for her second rotation, focusing on position-sensitive measurements of the interaction between sHSPs and filamentous proteins. She is a Clarendon and De Breyne scholar and a student at Keble College.

Before coming to Oxford, Carolin studied Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University and did her undergraduate thesis project in the Bioprocess Laboratory at ETH Zurich.

Zihao Wang

Zihao completed his 3+2 project in Chemistry at Fudan University in Shanghai and the University of Birmingham. He is now a Dphil student at St Cross College. Zihao is focusing on Cardiovascular heat shock protein (cvHsp). Mass spectrometry and macromolecular X-ray crystallography are mainly used in order to study the structure of cvHsp and its interactions with substrates.

Previous Group Members

Michael Barber

Michael studied Biological sciences at the University of Leeds and is now a DPhil student with the University of Oxford’s Doctoral Training Partnership. Michael joined the group for his first DPhil rotation to study the dynamics of molecular chaperones using both mass spectrometry and NMR approaches. He is now a PhD student with Rob Gilbert and Andy Baldwin.
(Jan 2013 - Apr 2013)

John Close

John was an undergraduate of the chemistry department, and joined us from St. Peter's College as a Part II student. He studyied a cyanobacterial sHSP, and its interactions with target proteins, using mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography.
(Oct 2014 - June 2015)

Miranda Collier

Miranda completed her DPhil in June 2018, having joined the group as a Clarendon scholar after graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She focused on interactions between human sHSPs and binding partners found in muscle, with implications for chaperone function in biomechanics. She used X-ray crystallography as well as a variety of mass spectrometry methods, and was particularly interested in adapting native mass spectrometry approaches to study functionally elastic proteins and highly polydisperse protein systems. Miranda will take up a postdoctoral position at Stanford University in September 2018.
(Oct 2014 - June 2018; Jul 2012 - Aug 2012)

James Coote

James was a Part II student at University College. He studied the regulation of alphaB-crystallin dynamics by solution conditions mimicking cellular stress.
(Oct 2011- Jun 2012)

Matteo Degiacomi

Matteo obtained an MSc in Computer Science and a PhD in computational biophysics in Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. While working under the supervision of Prof Matteo Dal Peraro, he focused on the development of POW, a flexible parallel optimization environment. POW was applied to the structural study of several macromolecular assemblies, including the pore-forming toxin Aerolysin and the basal body of type-III secretion system. While in our group, Matteo was developing new methods for the prediction of protein assembly using ion mobility, cross-linking, SAXS and electron microscopy data. Matteo has recently started his own research group at the University of Durham.
(Feb 2013 - June 2017)

Heidi Gastall

As part of her Natural Sciences degree at the University of Cambridge, Heidi did her final-year research project in the group when we were based in the Department of Chemistry there. Heidi’s work focussed on monitoring the temperature-related dynamic changes in sHSP structure. Heidi came to Oxford to join the Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre and St Anne’s College, and will rejoined the group in July 2012 for her PhD.
(Oct 2012 - May 2016; Oct 2009 - June 2010)

Ben Girling

Ben was a chemistry undergraduate who joined us as a part II student from Hertford College. He was jointly supervised with Andy Baldwin combining the use of NMR and MS for studying the glycation of sHSPs, for which he was one of three students to receive a Thesis Prize from the Department. After his part II he left Oxford to study medicine.
(Oct 2013 - June 2014)

Joe Gough

Joe was a summer intern in our group, while pursuing his undergraduate studies. Joe worked on developing a web server (which will shortly be available) for visualising the phenomenon of non-specific aggregation in electrospray mass spectrometry experiments.
(Jun 2013 - Aug 2013)

Gill Hilton

Gill obtained her PhD from the University of Warwick on the study of protein folding and misfolding, before moving to Oxford. Gill worked on the sHSPs, building and restraining structural models using ion mobility mass spectrometry, and incorporating restraints from other structural biology sources, particularly NMR and EM. She was also interested in understanding the regulation of sHSP dynamics on the amino-acid level, and was a college lecturer in Biochemistry at St Anne’s College. Gill has now joined Akzonobel as mass spectrometry and NMR specialist.
(Jan 2010 - Sep 2012)

Georg Hochberg

Georg studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and was a DPhil student at the Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre and Pembroke College. He joined the group in 2011 and studied the structural and dynamical diversity of sHSPs in general. He went to the University of Chicago and did a Post Doc at the Thornton Lab.
(July 2011 - July 2015)

Yusuf Ismail

Yusuf was a biology and computer science undergraduate from Lake Forest College, Illinois, USA. As a member of the Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation, Yusuf received a grant to pursue research with is as part of a service and learning program aimed to help students explore career paths. Working with Weston, Yusuf was using ion-mobility mass spectrometry to study glycans with the ultimate aim of identifying HIV glycans influential in neutralizing antibody recognition and affinity. Concurrently, with Matteo, Yusuf generated software to simulate physical cross-linking connections between proteins.
(Oct 2014 - July 2015)

Amelie Joffrin

Amelie was a summer intern in our group, during her undergraduate studies at the University of Durham. She expressed and purified point-mutants of alphaB-crystallin, and assessed their effects on its oligomerisation.
(Jul 2010 - Aug 2010)

India Kelly

India Kelly
India was a chemistry undergraduate at Magdalen College and was carrying out her part II project with the group. She was studying mutations of alphaB-Crystallin to determine its oligomerisation properties using mass spectrometry techniques. With the ultimate aim of achieving a more controlled, polydisperse system.
(Oct 2016 - June 2017)

Oz Kilim

IMG_20171117_090536 2
Oz was a Part 2 student at Lincoln College. He studied Small heat shock proteins with the aid of Gas Phase HDX Techniques as well as Ion mobility measurements in order to further understand the surface chemistry of these Chaperones. (Oct 2017 - June 2018) 

Fran Kondrat

Fran obtained her PhD from the University of Warwick, where she used ion mobility mass spectrometry to investigate subtle conformational changes in metalloprotein structure. She was working on the dynamical, conformational, and client binding changes of variant sHSPs.
(Oct 2012 - Nov 2015)

Art Laganowsky

Art obtained his PhD in crystallography at UCLA, where he focussed on solving structures of sHSPs and amyloidogenic proteins. He has maintained an interest in the sHSPs since moving to Oxford, and in particular understanding the role of the core domain within the alpha-crystallins. Art has since moved to Texas A&M to start his own research group.
(Jul 2011-Jul 2014)

Hadi Lioe

Hadi came to the UK from the University of Melbourne, having received an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship. Hadi’s work focussed on elucidating the quaternary dynamics of sHSPs, and in particular alphaB-crystallin. Hadi also performed our early experiments on determining structural information on small heat shock proteins from ion mobility experiments. Hadi has since moved back to Melbourne, first as a Centernary Research Fellow at the University, and now as a research scientist at CSL.
(Jan 2009 - Mar 2010)

Erik Marklund

Erik defended his PhD in Physics under the supervision of Prof David van der Spoel at Uppsala University, concerning structural aspects of proteins in the gas phase investigated by means of molecular dynamics. After a period of postdoctoral research on the biophysics of gene regulation in the laboratory of Prof Johan Elf in Uppsala he started his work at the Department of Chemistry in Oxford, where he developed new methods for calculating collisional cross sections of protein complexes and incorporating MS-derived structural data in simulations. He has recently started his own research group at Uppsala.
(Jan 2013 - June 2016)

Scott McGinnigle

Scott was a Chemistry undergraduate, and did his final-year Part II research project with us. Scott’s work was primarily focussed on assessing the affect of terminal regions of small heat shock proteins on their thermodynamic and kinetic stability.
(Oct 2010 - Jun 2011)

Jordan McKittrick-Hall

Jordan studied undergraduate economics at Washington and Lee University in Virginia before seeing the light and beginning his career as a scientist at Columbia University, where he studied for a bachelor's in biochemistry. At Columbia he worked in the Ruben Gonzalez lab for single-molecule biophysics to probe the mechanics of protein translation. Although Jordan may have left economics, economics hasn't left him, as he was here to research equilibrium approaches to sHSP oligomer distributions and the structures of their intermediate states. His approach was largely theoretical, so he split his time with the Jonathan Doye lab, which used statistical mechanics to study soft matter physics. Jordan is now doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge.
(Oct 2014 - May 2018)

Eleanor Moore

Ellie was an undergraduate Chemist from Jesus College and was completing the part II year in the group. She investigated how alphaA crystallin subunit exchange rate varies with temperature in six fish adapted to different water temperatures to study how the structure, dynamics and function of the protein are related.
(Oct 2015 - June 2016) 

Daisy Nicholls

Daisy pic
Daisy was a chemistry undergraduate at Magdalen College and carryied out her part II project with the Benesch group. She studied a construct of HSP27 to learn more about its structure and dynamics, through both mass spectrometry and NMR techniques.
(Oct 2015 - June 2016) 

Alex Painter

Part of Alex-James’s PhD work was on developing and applying an automated mass spectrometry means for monitoring quaternary protein dynamics. In collaboration with Advion BioSciences, Alex-James adapted a nanoelectrospray robot to sample the subunit exchange reaction between two plant small heat shock proteins. This allowed him to simultaneously obtain information as to the dynamics and architecture of these proteins. Alex-James also obtained our first results on the binding of client proteins to the small heat shock proteins, revealing the remarkable dispersity of the resultant complexes. Alex now works in television.
(Oct 2004 - Mar 2008)

Dale Shepherd

Dale studied for his PhD in the lab of Professor Alison Ashcroft at the University of Leeds, investigating the conformational and higher order structural properties of viral protein complexes by mass spectrometry. In our group, together with that of Andrew Baldwin, he investigated the structural and dynamical target-binding properties of sHSPs using mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy.
(Mar 2013 - Mar 2015)

Charlie Silver

Charles Silver
Charlie was a chemistry undergraduate who joined the group from The Queen’s College. He was using mass spectrometry to investigate the hetero-oligomer distribution formed by human sHSPs, specifically HSP27 and alphaB-crystallin.
(Oct 2016 - June 2017)

Oliver Stach

Oliver did his Bachelor of Biochemistry in Frankfurt a.M. in Germany. During his Master Studies of Biochemistry he joined our group as Erasmus Student for 3 months analysing the influence of mutations on the oligomerisation of a Small Heatshock Protein with native MS.
(Oct 2015 - Dec 2015)

Florian Stengel

Florian studied biochemistry at the FU Berlin and Harvard University. After completing his diploma thesis as a DAAD foreign exchange scholar with Pamela Silver in functional genomics using ChIP-Chip technology he went to Cambridge to undertake a PhD with Carol Robinson. He stayed on as a post-doc, and his interests continue to lie in developing mass spectrometry as a tool for studying protein assembly architecture and dynamics. During his time in Cambridge he got involved in studying the sHSPs, primarily in assessing the temperature-dependent rearrangements which they undergo, and how this enables them to recognise and bind client proteins in extremely polydisperse chaperone:client complexes. Florian is now a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow, based at the Institute for Systems Biology at ETH Zurich.
(May 2007 - Feb 2011)

Jenni Stephens

Jenni was a Part II student at Trinity College. She worked on an empirical understanding of the characteristics of mass spectra, and specifically those obtained from sHSPs.
(Oct 2011 - Jun 2012)

Weston Struwe

Weston obtained his PhD from the University of New Hampshire where he studied genetic and structural impacts of a group of inherited diseases termed congenital disorders of glycosylation. Weston continued his work in glycan mass spectrometry at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training where he focused on the role glycosylation in Fcγ receptor-IgG binding, the properties of mucin glycosylation in C. jejuni interactions and technical development for glycan mass spectrometry including ion mobility MS. In our group he worked on structural aspects of sHSPs, and in particular understanding how these large oligomeric assemblies are formed.
(Oct 2012 - Oct 2015)

Olga Tkachenko

Olga studied Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) at the University of Cambridge as a member of St. Catharine's College, and spent a year at the University of Heidelberg as an exchange student. She was a DPhil student and a Lamb and Flag Scholar at St. John's College. Olga is interested in conformational dynamics of proteins and protein assemblies, and in combining advanced biophysical methods to study them. She is supervised jointly with Andy Baldwin.
(Oct 2013 - April 2018)

Kate Tonks

Kate was a final year chemistry undergraduate (Part II) student from St Edmund’s Hall. Her research project concerns the subunit exchange dynamics and conformational activation of plant sHSPs.
(Oct 2012 - Jun 2013)

Anna van der Zalm

Anna was a chemistry undergraduate, and joined us as a part II student from St. Peter's College. She was jointly supervised with Andy Baldwin combining the use of NMR and mass spectrometry for studying the aggregation behaviour of amyloidogenic proteins.
(Oct 2014 - June 2015)

Nick Williams

Nick was a part II student at Wadham College, supervised jointly with Carol Robinson. He investigated the binding and dynamics of some carbohydrate-binding proteins that target sugars on the capsid of the HIV virus, acting as potent HIV inhibitors.
(Oct 2014 - Aug 2015)