Dr Barbara Ciani

Department of Chemistry

Lecturer in Biophysical Chemistry and Departmental BSO

Departmental BSO

Barbara Ciani
+44 114 222 9438

Full contact details

Dr Barbara Ciani
Department of Chemistry
Dainton Building
13 Brook Hill
S3 7HF

Dr. Ciani obtained a Laurea in Chemistry at University "La Sapienza", Rome in 1997. This was followed by a DPhil in Biochemistry at the University of Sussex in Brighton in 2001, after which she became a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Nottingham (2001-2003) and subsequently at the University of Manchester (2004-2008). In 2008 she was appointed as a Lecturer in Biophysical Chemistry at the University of Sheffield.

  • FHEA
  • MSRC
Research interests

Functional protein self-assembly and membrane compartmentalisation

Research within the lab –
Compartmentalisation of chemical reactions is fundamental for the function of any biological cell. The confinement provided by membrane interfaces in intracellular organelles allows their contents to carry out specific tasks without the interference from other processes. 

In our laboratory, we study the mechanisms at the basis of the function of protein self-assembly and how proteins shape lipid membranes in vitro and in vivo. 

Scientific Questions we are addressing –
•    How do proteins assemble into larger structures to sculpt lipid membranes?
•    How do phospholipid membranes mechanical properties control protein function?
•    How does membrane integrity maintain the healthy state of a biological cell?

Our lab has expertise in:

  • Protein engineering and cloning
  • High-level recombinant peptide and protein expression for structural studies
  • De novo and rational design of α- helical and β-hairpin peptides
  • Protein stability and protein-protein interaction measurements
  • Characterisation of self-assembling proteins

Journal articles

Teaching interests

Analytical Chemistry; Biophysical Chemistry.

Teaching activities

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules

  • Thermodynamics, Equilibria and Electrochemistry (Level 1)
    This course introduces quantitative description of chemical and electrochemical equilibria and their energetics.
  • Skills for Success (Level 3)
    The Skills for Success Project aims to ensure that students identify and develop skills that will be of use to them in life, future study and employment and provide a basis from which they can undertake further training of a professional nature.
  • Biophysical Chemistry (Level 4)
    This lecture course provides an overview of the classical methods employed to investigate the structure of biopolymers and their interactions.

Support Teaching:

  • Tutorials: Level 2 Physical Chemistry
  • Level 3 Literature Review

Laboratory Teaching:

  • Level 2 Physical Laboratories
  • Level 4 Research Project