The Groups


Neil Hunt (NTH) is a UK pioneer in the use of ultrafast multi-dimensional infrared spectroscopy. His group holds >£2.4M of active grant funding including an Advanced Research Fellowship and a prestigious ERC Starting Investigator Grant for applications of 2D-IR spectroscopy to biomolecule reactions. NTH has written over 30 papers including an invited review article on the method and applications of 2D-IR spectroscopy.1 In conjunction with EPSRC’s Bridging the Gap initiative, NTH actively promotes cross-disciplinary activities at Strathclyde and is involved in the BioNano@SU research theme. NTH jointly organised the International Workshop in Ultrafast Chemical Physics’08 and is committee chair for the 2011 meeting as well as being Guest Editor for a special issue of the journal PCCP dedicated to ultrafast chemical physics.

Nick Tucker’s (NPT) research is currently funded by the Royal Society and he has an excellent track record in the field of NO-sensing proteins. Of particular relevance is the analysis of intermolecular interactions of the  transcription factor NorR2 and characterisation of a novel ferrous, non-haem, NO sensing mechanism, as reported in Nature.3 NPT carried out the first biochemical and spectroscopic characterisation of the NO sensing iron-sulphur centre of the NsrR protein, identifying the NO-dependent DNA binding activity of this global regulator.4 This work is consistent with NPT’s record of using spectroscopy and mutagenesis to inform structural modelling.5

Paul Hoskisson’s (PAH) expertise lies in gene regulation and bacterial developmental biology. This includes the characterisation of proteins in a novel restricton-modification system6 and a strong track record working on GntR-like DNA-binding proteins.7 PAH’s work is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Medical Research Scotland, the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance and the British Council. He has a strong collaborative research portfolio including work with the University of Ljubijana and the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible, Spain. PAH is Editor in Chief of Microbiology Today and a Managing Editor for the Journal Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.


Jonathan Hirst (JDH) leads the Computational Chemistry group at Nottingham. His funding track record includes ~£7M from >30 grants from US, EU, UK government and industrial sources. He is Editor-in-Chief for the RSC Book Series on Theoretical & Computational Chemistry and has been Editor of the Journal of Molecular Graphics & Modelling since 2005. He has published >110 articles in areas pertinent to the current proposal. A key focus of his research is translating small-molecule, quantum-chemical, excited state calculations to biomolecular environments. His method for computing excited states of proteins is the most accurate available worldwide. JDH was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for 2010-2011 for research of direct relevance to this proposal.

Nick Besley’s (NAB) recent research advances include new theoretical approaches to the study of molecules in solution and on surfaces and calculations of circular dichroism spectra of proteins. NAB currently holds a grant to study the spectroscopy of NO. Since 2002, NAB has been a contributing author of the Q-Chem software package8 and his work on electron correlation includes a PCCP ‘Hot Article,’ which featured on the cover.9

Diamond Light Source:

Martin Walsh (MAW) is deputy to the director of life sciences at Diamond Light Source (DLS). He has >20 years experience in X-ray crystallography of bio-macromolecules in academia and in industry and has played key roles in the development of high-throughput methods for structural biology.10,11 MAW is responsible for >65 structures deposited with the Protein Data Bank; these include protein-ligand and protein-nucleic acid complexes, all of which bring relevant expertise to the structural objectives of the current proposal. Prior to DLS, MAW was responsible for the UK macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), which was instrumental in making multiple wavelength anomalous dispersion a routine and accessible technique for the determination of macromolecular structures to the UK MX community.

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory:

Michael Towrie (MT) leads the Molecular Structure & Dynamics Group within the Lasers for Science Facility (LSF) and has 17 years’ experience in ultrafast spectroscopy. His work has focused on the development and application of lasers and instrumentation alongside new work on the TRMPS (time resolved multiple probe spectroscopy) facility for probing reactions over biologically relevant timescales.

Tony Parker (AWP) is Division Head of the LSF and an STFC Fellow. He has >20 years experience in applying time-resolved spectroscopy and imaging to study the structure-function relationship in chemical and biological systems, particularly in relation to DNA dynamics12 and photochemistry.13 AWP’s management of the STFC & BBSRC funded project ULTRA (£2M) is the latest step in making internationally-leading technology accessible to the scientific community.