Dek Woolfson

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Dek Woolfson
Born
Derek N. Woolfson

7 July, 1965
NationalityBritish
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Oxford, UK University of Cambridge, UK
Known forResearch on coiled-coil proteins, de novo protein design, peptide assembly, and synthetic biology
AwardsMedimmune Protein and Peptide Science Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011.

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, 2014.

Interdisciplinary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2016.

Humboldt Research Award, also known as the Humboldt Prize, 2020.
Scientific career
FieldsChemical biology

Protein design

Synthetic biology
InstitutionsUniversity of Bristol
Doctoral advisorProf. DH Williams FRS

Derek “Dek” Woolfson (born 7 July 1965) is a British chemist and biochemist. He is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.[1] [2]and Director of the Bristol BioDesign Institute[3] at the University of Bristol, and founder of synthetic biology spin-out company Rosa Biotech[4].

Early Life and Education

Woolfson was born on 7 July 1965 in Birmingham, UK. He attended King’s Norton Boys’ School (1976 - 1983). Woolfson was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford in 1987, doing undergraduate research with Christopher M. Dobson. He obtained his PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge in 1991 under the supervision of Dudley Williams (biochemist)|Prof. DH Williams FRS (Chemistry) and Dr. PA Evans (Biochemistry).

Career

Woolfson undertook post-doctoral research at University College London (1991-1992), and at the University of California, Berkeley (1992-1994), before accepting a Lectureship in Biochemistry at the University of Bristol from 1994-1995.

The following year, Woolfson was appointed Lecturer and later Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Sussex, where he worked until 2005. Since 2005, Woolfson has held a joint chair between the Schools of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Bristol.

Woolfson was Principal Investigator and Director of the UKRI-funded Synthetic Biology Research Centre, BrisSynBio[5] at the University of Bristol. He is Director of the Bristol BioDesign Institute[6] at the University of Bristol and founding Director of the Max Planck Society|Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology[7][8]. In 2019 he founded the spin-out company Rosa Biotech[9].

Research

Woolfson applies chemical and physical methods and principles to understand biological phenomena, such as protein folding and stability.

He is interested in how weak non-covalent interactions determine the structures and functions of proteins;[10][11][12][13][14] and also the challenge of rational protein design and how this can be applied in synthetic biology and biotechnology[15][16].

Using a combination of rational and computational design, Woolfson explores making completely new protein structures and materials not known to natural biology[17][18][19].

The current focuses of his group[20] are in the parametric design of protein structures, assemblies and materials; and in porting these into living cells to augment natural biology.

His work focuses on the folding, assembly, prediction, modelling and design of coiled-coil proteins[21][22][23][24][25].

Awards and honours

2011- Medimmune Protein and Peptide Science Award[26][27] of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

2014- Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award[28][29].

2016- Interdisciplinary Prizes (RSC)|Interdisciplinary Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry[30].

2020 – Humboldt Research Award, also known as the Humboldt Prize[31]

In the media

  

References

  1. Bristol, University of. "Professor Dek Woolfson - People in the School of Chemistry". www.bris.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  2. Bristol, University of. "Professor Dek Woolfson - Biochemistry". www.bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  3. "Bristol BioDesign Institute".
  4. "Rosa Biotech | Biosensing & diagnostics". Mysite. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  5. Bristol, University of. "BrisSynBio | BrisSynBio | University of Bristol". www.bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  6. Bristol, University of. "Bristol BioDesign Institute | Research | University of Bristol". www.bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  7. "New Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology announced". www.maxsynbio.mpg.de. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  8. Bristol, University of. "March: minimal-biology | News and features | University of Bristol". www.bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  9. "Rosa Biotech | Biosensing & diagnostics". Mysite. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  10. Woolfson, D. N.; Cooper, A.; Harding, M. M.; Williams, D. H.; Evans, P. A. (1993-01-20). "Protein folding in the absence of the solvent ordering contribution to the hydrophobic interaction". Journal of Molecular Biology. 229 (2): 502–511. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1993.1049. ISSN 0022-2836. PMID 8381493.
  11. Hutchinson, E. G.; Sessions, R. B.; Thornton, J. M.; Woolfson, D. N. (November 1998). "Determinants of strand register in antiparallel beta-sheets of proteins". Protein Science : A Publication of the Protein Society. 7 (11): 2287–2300. ISSN 0961-8368. PMC 2143855. PMID 9827995.
  12. Bartlett, Gail J.; Choudhary, Amit; Raines, Ronald T.; Woolfson, Derek N. (August 2010). "n → π * interactions in proteins". Nature Chemical Biology. 6 (8): 615–620. doi:10.1038/nchembio.406. ISSN 1552-4469.
  13. Baker, Emily G.; Bartlett, Gail J.; Crump, Matthew P.; Sessions, Richard B.; Linden, Noah; Faul, Charl F. J.; Woolfson, Derek N. (March 2015). "Local and macroscopic electrostatic interactions in single α-helices". Nature Chemical Biology. 11 (3): 221–228. doi:10.1038/nchembio.1739. ISSN 1552-4469.
  14. Hudson, Kieran L.; Bartlett, Gail J.; Diehl, Roger C.; Agirre, Jon; Gallagher, Timothy; Kiessling, Laura L.; Woolfson, Derek N. (2015-12-09). "Carbohydrate–Aromatic Interactions in Proteins". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 137 (48): 15152–15160. doi:10.1021/jacs.5b08424. ISSN 0002-7863. PMC 4676033. PMID 26561965.
  15. Woolfson, Derek N. (2005). "The design of coiled-coil structures and assemblies". Advances in Protein Chemistry. 70: 79–112. doi:10.1016/S0065-3233(05)70004-8. ISSN 0065-3233. PMID 15837514.
  16. Woolfson, D. N.; Alber, T. (August 1995). "Predicting oligomerization states of coiled coils". Protein Science: A Publication of the Protein Society. 4 (8): 1596–1607. doi:10.1002/pro.5560040818. ISSN 0961-8368. PMC 2143200. PMID 8520486.
  17. Thomson, Andrew R.; Wood, Christopher W.; Burton, Antony J.; Bartlett, Gail J.; Sessions, Richard B.; Brady, R. Leo; Woolfson, Derek N. (2014-10-24). "Computational design of water-soluble α-helical barrels". Science. 346 (6208): 485–488. doi:10.1126/science.1257452. ISSN 1095-9203. PMID 25342807.
  18. Woolfson, Derek N.; Bartlett, Gail J.; Burton, Antony J.; Heal, Jack W.; Niitsu, Ai; Thomson, Andrew R.; Wood, Christopher W. (August 2015). "De novo protein design: how do we expand into the universe of possible protein structures?". Current Opinion in Structural Biology. 33: 16–26. doi:10.1016/j.sbi.2015.05.009. ISSN 1879-033X. PMID 26093060.
  19. Fletcher, Jordan M.; Harniman, Robert L.; Barnes, Frederick R. H.; Boyle, Aimee L.; Collins, Andrew; Mantell, Judith; Sharp, Thomas H.; Antognozzi, Massimo; Booth, Paula J.; Linden, Noah; Miles, Mervyn J. (2013-05-03). "Self-assembling cages from coiled-coil peptide modules". Science. 340 (6132): 595–599. doi:10.1126/science.1233936. ISSN 1095-9203. PMC 6485442. PMID 23579496.
  20. "Woolfson Group". Woolfson Group. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  21. Hudson, Kieran L.; Bartlett, Gail J.; Diehl, Roger C.; Agirre, Jon; Gallagher, Timothy; Kiessling, Laura L.; Woolfson, Derek N. (2015-12-09). "Carbohydrate–Aromatic Interactions in Proteins". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 137 (48): 15152–15160. doi:10.1021/jacs.5b08424. ISSN 0002-7863. PMC 4676033. PMID 26561965.
  22. Woolfson, Derek N. (2005-01-01), "The Design of Coiled-Coil Structures and Assemblies", Advances in Protein Chemistry, Fibrous Proteins: Coiled-Coils, Collagen and Elastomers, Academic Press, 70, pp. 79–112, retrieved 2020-06-29
  23. Woolfson, Derek N.; Alber, Tom (1995). "Predicting oligomerization states of coiled coils". Protein Science. 4 (8): 1596–1607. doi:10.1002/pro.5560040818. ISSN 1469-896X. PMC 2143200. PMID 8520486.
  24. Walshaw, J.; Woolfson, D. N. (2001-04-13). "Socket: a program for identifying and analysing coiled-coil motifs within protein structures". Journal of Molecular Biology. 307 (5): 1427–1450. doi:10.1006/jmbi.2001.4545. ISSN 0022-2836. PMID 11292353.
  25. Wood, Christopher W.; Woolfson, Derek N. (January 2018). "CCBuilder 2.0: Powerful and accessible coiled‐coil modeling". Protein Science : A Publication of the Protein Society. 27 (1): 103–111. doi:10.1002/pro.3279. ISSN 0961-8368. PMC 5734305. PMID 28836317.
  26. "Protein and Peptide Science Group Awards". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  27. "RSC Interdisciplinary Prize 2016 Winner". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  28. "Royal Society announces new round of esteemed Wolfson Research Merit Awards | Royal Society". royalsociety.org. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  29. "Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award | Royal Society". royalsociety.org. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  30. "RSC Interdisciplinary Prize 2016 Winner". www.rsc.org. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  31. "Humboldt Research Award". www.humboldt-foundation.de. Retrieved 2020-06-29.

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