Membrane biophysical properties and environmentally-sensitive probes


Cell membranes are composed of different lipid phases, which regulate the diffusion and clustering of membrane molecules – with important implications in health and disease. Membrane phase is often studies using phase-sensitive fluorescent membrane probes together with fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy. This project will combine these techniques with atomistic scale molecular dynamics simulations in artificial membranes and cells. In this way, we will establish the relationship between the local physical properties actually sensed by the probes and the macro-scale molecular outcomes of interest in the biological sciences.


D. Lingwood, K. Simons, Lipid Rafts As a Membrane-Organizing Principle. Science 327, 46 (2010).


W. K. Nitschke, et al, Molecular Dynamics Investigations of PRODAN in a DLPC Bilayer. The Journal of Physical Chemistry 116, 2713 (2012).


D. M. Owen et al, Sub-resolution lipid domains exist in the plasma membrane and regulate protein diffusion and distribution. Nat. Commun. 3, 1256 (2012).


K. Simons, R. Ehehalt, Cholesterol, lipid rafts, and disease. Journal of Clinical Investigation 110, 597 (September 1, 2002, 2002).


D. M. Owen et al, Quantitative microscopy: protein dynamics and membrane organisation. Traffic 10, 962 (Aug, 2009).

Biological Areas:

Chemical Biology


Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology