Who we are

We are a group of scientists at the Cavendish Lab, University of Cambridge, UK. Our research is focused on understanding transport processes through membranes for biosensing applications.

Since the pandemic we are mainly interested in understanding RNA, its structure and its relation to biology and disease. More details on our current and past research interests can be found here. Since the start, the lab aims to achieve a maximum level of control over all parameters in our experiments. Our main technique remains resistive-pulse sensing with nanopores especially in combination with DNA and now RNA nanotechnology

Our interdisciplinary team combines researchers with expertise in physics, engineering, physical chemistry, biochemistry/biology, and micro- and nanofabrication.

In case you are interested in working with us, please get in touch with Ulrich by email: ufk20 (at) cam.ac.uk.

We gratefully acknowledge funding of our work from various sources including:

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5/6/2024 Forces on RNA:DNA hybrids in nanopores.

Filip, Gerardo, and Ran measured the translocation velocity of designed RNA:DNA, and DNA:DNA hybrids in the same nanopore. In a collbaoration with the Aksimentiev lab at Urbana-Champaign, our data and their models show that duplexes of RNA and DNA move at the same velocity through the nanopores. A remarkable finding as the molecules have different structire where RNA:DNA is closer to A-form helix than the usual B-form.

18/5/2024 RNA nanostructure folding (almost) at room temperature .

Herchel Smith fellow Casey developed a new approach to get RNA:DNA nanostructures into shape for nanopore sensing. In the work that just appeared in JACS, she and Max show that RNA can be kept from self-cleaving by folding at room temperature. Top tip: For high GC content, consider a few minutes long temperature spike.

25/2/2024 RNA transcription with solid-state nanopores.

Gerardo's paper on the analysis of single transcipts from RNA polymerases based on our ARTEMIS method just appeard in Nature Communications. The single-molecule capabilities of our nanopores sensors reveal the diveristy of transcripts and that transcription termination appears at unexpected sites. The work was enabled by a great collaboration with the lab of Dušanka Savić Pavićević.

15/10/2023 Michealmas Update.
We welcome Michaelmas term and Siong Chen, who started his MPhil on RNA analysis with nanopores.
We also welcome two visiting PhD students, Sara de Braganca from the Moreno Lab in Madrid and Kevin Neis from the Kjems Lab at Aarhus.
Ran Tivony started his own lab now at Ben-Gurion University. We wish him all the best for his start in these challenging times.
In collaboration with the lab of Gideon Coster we investigated the influence of DNA structures on DNA replication. The paper was published in The Embo Journal.

7/8/2023 dCas9 screened with nanopores.

Sarah - in collaboration with Richard Gutierrez from ONT - investigates the binding efficiency of dCas9 to DNA sequences. In her nanopore 'tour de force' Sarah used designed DNA nanostructures for screening dCas9 target sequences with single basepair resolution. Her paper just appeared in Nature Biomed. Eng. Congratulations to Sarah for the great work and excellent collaboration with ONT!

26/7/2023 DNA signals depend on everything.

Check out Yunxuan's recently published paper in Nano Letters that reveals the relationship between DNA sequence and nanopore signals. It is all a bit more complicated and interesting than just molecular weight of the molecules. Congratulations to Yunxuan, Sarah and Jinbo (as senior author)!

5/7/2023 DNAo nanocavities.

Congratulations to Sara for her recently published paper in Nano Letters. In collaboration with the Baumberg lab Sara used DNA origami nanostructures as a spacer to create plasmonic cavities in the NanoParticle On Mirror (NPoM) geometry. By decorating her DNA constructs with quantum emitters, the interaction of single light emitting molecules with gold atoms protruding from tightly confined plasmonic cavities can be studied. This opens up the possibility of new nanophotonic devices. Well done!