1984 …2020

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Fluorescent protein technology has revolutionised the way in which we carry out experiments in the life sciences, and few areas of biological research remain untouched by the technology. Fluorescent proteins such as the green fluorescent protein (GFP) cloned from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, have been engineered to produce proteins with different fluorescent properties (for example see picture) useful for sensing a vast range of events in living cells. GFP is just one member of the protein superfamily found in marine organisms. Although each member folds to form the same 11-stranded b-barrel a variety of different chromophores (the light emitting component buried inside the barrel) together with the complex network of interactions between the chromophore and the surrounding amino acid side-chains (the protein matrix) determine the myriad range of optical properties.

Our aim is twofold: (a) understand the complex and subtle relationship between FP structure and optical properties, and (b) use newly acquired knowledge to design and engineer new FPs for novel biotechnology applications. In particular we are exploring their use in the fields of autophagy research, super-resolution microscopy and optogenetics. In the new and exciting field of optogenetics light-sensitive probes are used together with focussed light to switch processes 'on' and 'off' in living cells, tissues and intact organisms.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Research area keywords

  • fluorescent protein
  • mitochondrion
  • autophagy
  • mitophagy
  • fluorescence
  • Biosensors