Robinson Group 2019

Postdoctoral Researchers

Mark Agasid

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Mark’s research focuses on the 29-amino-acid endocrine peptide glucagon. Glucagon is responsible for elevating blood glucose through stimulation of its cognate, G-protein coupled receptor, the glucagon receptor (GCGR).  As the worldwide prevalence of diabetes is increasing, pharmacological intervention of glucagon’s effect as a novel treatment for attaining prolonged glucose homeostasis in diabetic patients is receiving greater attention.  By combining molecular biology techniques with characterisation via native mass spectrometry Mark hopes to better understand glucagon peptide-receptor interactions, and how other membrane components (for example,  lipids, G-proteins, and accessory proteins) allosterically influence binding properties. 

Mark graduated from the University of California San Diego and completed his PhD studies at the University of Arizona.  He joined the Robinson group in 2017.

Jani Reddy Bolla

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Jani employs native mass spectrometry techniques and X-ray crystallography to characterise the multiprotein machineries involved in peptidoglycan and outer membrane biogenesis in Gram-negative bacteria.  The goal of his research is to provide useful information for the development of more effective vaccines as well as targets for new drug design against bacterial infections. A full list of Jani's publications can be found here

Jani studied chemical sciences at Pondicherry University, India and then moved to Iowa State University for his doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Edward Yu.  He joined the Robinson group in 2015.  

Dror Chorev

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Dror’s background is in cell signaling and the isolation and analysis of cell-adhesion related protein complexes using cell biological and mass spectrometry approaches.   He is now working on developing novel approaches for detergent-free native mass spectrometry of membrane proteins.

Dror obtained his MSc from the Israeli Institute of Technology (Technion) and his PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science.   He joined the Robinson group in 2015.

Tom Durrant

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Tom is interested in cell signalling, with a particular focus on the dynamic regulation, interactions and signal transduction of cell surface receptors implicated in thrombosis and cancer.  His work combines mass spectrometry with biochemical and cell biological approaches.  

Tom obtained his BSc from King’s College London, and spent a year in GPCR drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline.  He obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge in the laboratory of Phillip Hawkins FRS and Len Stephens FRS at the Babraham Institute, funded by the BBSRC and Pfizer.  He then carried out postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Ingeborg Hers at the University of Bristol, funded by the BHF.  Tom joined the Robinson group in 2018, and is currently a Research Member of Common Room at Kellogg College.

Joe Gault

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Joe’s research aims to unravel the complex structural changes involved as ligand binding is translated into functional effect. He is developing new instrumentation and native mass spectrometry platforms for NativeOmics – the complete characterisation of multiproteoform-ligand complexes. He is also exploring how top-down mass spectrometry, novel fragmentation techniques, such as SID, and high-resolution imaging can be used to provide a more in-depth structural characterisation of membrane protein assemblies. 

A full list of Joe's publications can be found here.

Joe completed his MSci in Chemistry at Imperial College London. He obtained his PhD from Ecole Polytechnique (l’X) & Institut Pasteur, France. He joined the Robinson group in 2014 and is currently a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College.

Kin-Kuan Hoi (Hugh)

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Hugh is investigating membrane protein-lipid interactions, in particular those of the GPCR family. The primary goal of his research is to probe GPCR-lipid interactions and their effects on GPCR signalling. In addition, he is also exploring the use of various membrane mimetics, such as nanodiscs and SMALPs, to capture membrane protein-lipid interactions in the context of the lipid bilayer.

Hugh completed his MSc at the University of Melbourne. He joined the group as a DPhil student in 2014 and took up a postdoctoral position in the laboratory in 2018.

Abraham Olusegun Oluwole

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Abraham uses lipid/polymer nanodiscs as a platform to capture membrane proteins together with their endogenous ligands for analysis by native mass spectrometry. This may assist our understanding of native structure and function of membrane proteins in a more native-like lipid-bilayer environment.

Abraham studied Chemistry at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso and at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. During his PhD, he investigated the use of lipid/polymer nanodiscs in biophysical characterisation of membrane proteins at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Sandro Keller. He joined the Robinson group in 2018.

Ritu Raj

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Ritu’s background is in chemical biology, especially protein chemistry and mass spectrometry based-proteomics. His current research  focuses on combining synthetic biology and native mass spectrometry approaches to elucidate the modulation of membrane protein structure and function upon lipidation. He is also developing chemical approaches to analyse specific membrane protein-lipid interactions which are difficult to observe using other biophysical methods.

Ritu earned his BS-MS degree in Chemical Sciences from IISER Kolkata, India and then moved to the University of Oxford for his doctoral studies on a Felix Scholarship. He joined the Robinson group in 2018 and is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Somerville College.

Bodhisattwa Saha

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Bodhisattwa’s Research focuses on understanding the dynamics and plasticity of mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes using a combination of native MS, proteomics and molecular biology. He is also interested in how posttranslational modifications and lipid interactions alter the dynamics of such large membrane complexes during different physiological conditions.

Bodhisattwa gained his MSc from the University of Calcutta and PhD from the Bose Institute, India. He joined the Robinson group in March 2019 on a Newton International Fellowship.

Haiping Tang

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Haiping’ research aims to further develop detergent-free methods to study complexes within their native environment and thus probe the effects of drugs in direct contact with some key membrane targets, such as solute carriers and rhomboids.

Haiping graduated from Jilin University, China and obtained her PhD from Tsinghua University, China. She joined the Robinson group in 2018.

Leonhard Urner                       

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Leo develops new detergent and polymer platforms that facilitate not only the structural analysis of membrane proteins but also the analysis of proteome-lipidome interactions. He uses mass spectrometry and related techniques to study the role of the lipidome for the structure and function of membrane proteins.

Leo studied chemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin. He obtained his doctoral degree under the supervision of Prof. Kevin Pagel and in co-operation with Prof. Rainer Haag. He joined the Robinson group in 2018. 

Di Wu

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Di is interested in understanding lipid micro-environment of membrane proteins and dynamic protein post-translational modifications by integrative mass spectrometry based approaches, including native MS, metabolomics, proteomics and biochemistry. He is developing new methods for quantitative analysis of membrane ion channel-lipid interaction. He is also using high resolution native MS to elucidate the importance of glycosylation in protein-protein/drug interactions.

Di obtained his BSc and MSc from Wuhan University, China and completed his PhD at the University of Dundee.  He joined the Robinson group in 2015.

DPhil Students

Siyun Chen   

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DPhil title: Protein assemblies ejected from membranes based on native mass spectrometry

Siyun is using native mass spectrometry techniques to investigate the structure and regulation of protein assemblies ejected from membranes. She is currently studying the role of lipids on the structure and function of membrane proteins such as GPCRs. The elucidation of the molecular mechanism of these proteins may provide useful information for the design of novel drugs.

Siyun studied Applied Chemistry at East China University of Science and Technology and specialized in ion mobility mass spectrometry at Peking University, China.  She joined the Robinson group for her DPhil in 2019.

Francesco Fiorentino

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DPhil title: Studying the structure and modulation of membrane proteins using native mass spectrometry

Francesco is using native mass spectrometry techniques to investigate the structure and regulation of bacterial protein complexes. He is currently studying the role of lipids on the functioning of bacterial transporters.  The elucidation of the molecular mechanism of these proteins will provide useful information for the design of novel drugs.

Francesco studied Medicinal Chemistry at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and joined the Robinson group for his DPhil in 2017.

Jingwen Li   

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DPhil title: Probing Interactions between Membrane Proteins and Lipids by Native Mass Spectrometry

Jingwen’s DPhil studies concentrate on using native mass spectrometry techniques to probe interactions between membrane proteins and lipids in order to understand the specific regulation between lipids and protein conformations.  This information will then allow her to investigate the effect on function.   To aid her research she is developing a detergent-free strategy to interrogate the lipid dynamics of membrane proteins.

Jingwen graduated from the University of Birmingham, UK and joined the Robinson group in 2014.

Anna Olerinyova

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DPhil title: Membrane proteins interactions in lipid nanodiscs using native mass spectrometry and interferometric light scattering microscopy.

Anna’s project focuses on using interferometric light scattering microscopy (iSCAT) and native MS to observe interactions of membrane proteins embedded in lipid nanodiscs and how their properties are affected by small-molecule interactions. The main goal of her project is to establish a method using native MS and iSCAT in a complementary manner for studies of eukaryotic membrane protein dynamics, such as GPCR or ion channel oligomerisation.

Anna completed her undergraduate studies (BA in Biomedical Sciences) at the University of Oxford.   She started her DPhil studies in October 2017 in the Robinson and Kukura Laboratories.

Denis Shutin                                              

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DPhil title: Investigating the regulation of membrane protein assemblies by lipids and other small molecules using native mass spectrometry

Denis employs native mass spectrometry, in combination with Surface-Induced Dissociation (SID), to obtain positional information on lipids and ligands bound to membrane protein complexes. His current goal is to locate interfacial lipids that are involved in membrane protein oligomerisation.

Denis completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford. He started his DPhil studies in the Robinson group in 2016.

Fabian Soltermann                                              

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Proposed DPhil title:  Interaction of T-cell surface membrane proteins with extra-cellular proteins in HIV investigated with native mass spectrometry

Fabian is investigating protein-protein interactions in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Using native mass spectrometry he will explore how  cell-surface membrane proteins of T-cells interact with extra-cellular proteins.  He will then continue his studies to look at how marker proteins on cancer cells interact with chimeric antigen receptor T- cells.

Fabian completed his BSc and MSc in Chemistry at ETH Zurich, part of which was spent at the Institut Pasteur in Paris for his Master thesis. He joined the Robinson Group in October 2017.

Xingyu Qiu (Philip)

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DPhil title: Investigating the GPCR activation process through mass spectrometry related methods

Philip is studying the GPCR activation mechanism through mass spectrometry related methods including HDX, native MS and ion mobility. Exploration of GPCR-ligand interaction during the receptor activation will promote the development of drug targeting on GPCRs.

Philip studied Chemistry at University of Oxford and joined the Robinson group for his DPhil studies in 2018.

Daniel Questschlich

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DPhil title: Integrating Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Native Mass Spectrometry to Investigate Protein-Lipid Interactions in Membrane transporters and Receptors

Daniel is developing an integrated approach using native mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulations to understand the regulatory role of lipids in membrane protein oligomerisation.

Daniel studied physics with a specialisation in biophysics at the University of Göttingen, Germany.   He commenced his DPhil in October 2017 jointly in the Robinson laboratory and the Stansfeld/Sansom laboratories in the Structural Bioinformatics and Computational Biochemistry Unit.



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