Tim Dafforn

Director Knowledge Transfer, College of Life and Environmental Sciences
United KingdomUniversity of Birmingham

“I began my science career studying protein engineering under Professor J. John Holbrook at the Bristol University. During these studies I developing 2 approaches to enzyme engineering based on forced evolution and rational design. I moved to a PDRA position in the laboratory of Professor Robin Carrell FRS in the Cambridge Institute of Medical Research. Working with Dr Arthur Lesk I studied the mechanism of action of a class of serine proteinase inhibitors (SERPINS) involved in innate immunity and blood clotting. During this time I defined a mechanistic and structural explanation which underlies a group of diseases known as serpinopathies. In 2003 I was awarded a prestigious MRC Career development fellowship to continue my work on the SERPINS, as part of this I worked with Professor Alison Rodger (Warwick) to establish Linear Dichroism as an important technique for the study of membrane proteins and protein fibres. More recently I have developed three research strands all enabled by linear dichroism. Firstly I have produced insights into the assemblies that underlie bacterial cell division. Secondly I have developed a novel method that trivializes the production of membrane proteins enabling advances in bioprocessing. Finally I have developed a platform bioassay that represents one of the first commercial applications of synthetic biology.”

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