Dr Alice Pyne
MSci, MRes, EngD
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Senior Lecturer in Soft Matter & Polymers
+44 114 222 5969
Full contact details
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Alice is a Senior Lecturer in Polymers & Soft Matter and head of the Henry Royce Nanocharacterisation laboratory. Her research focusses on developing high-resolution Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) imaging methods for structural characterisation of biomolecules in solution. She has pioneered single-molecule imaging studies of the DNA double helix, including unique time-resolved imaging at the atomic scale, showing DNA molecules twisting and “dancing” in ways that had not previously been imaged. Alice has a keen interest in bioimage analysis, and has developed an automated image analysis pipeline, TopoStats, that combines AFM image correction, molecule identification, and tracing into a single tool.
Prior to moving to Sheffield, Alice completed an EngD in Biophysics at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL and was awarded two postdoctoral fellowships during which she established a track record in high resolution biomolecular AFM.
- EngD Biophysics, University College London & the National Physical Laboratory, High Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy of Functional Biological Molecules (2015)
- MRes (Hons) Distinction, UCL, Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (2011)
- MSci (Hons) Physics, University of Bristol (2009)
- Research interests
Alice’s current projects combine high-resolution AFM and cutting-edge bioimage analysis to determine how structural and conformational heterogeneity in individual DNA molecules affects fundamental biological processes.
- Atomic force microscopy—A tool for structural and translational DNA research. APL Bioengineering, 5(3), 031504-031504.
- Base-pair resolution analysis of the effect of supercoiling on DNA flexibility and major groove recognition by triplex-forming oligonucleotides. Nature Communications, 12. View this article in WRRO
- TopoStats – A program for automated tracing of biomolecules from AFM images. Methods. View this article in WRRO
- Imaging the Effects of Peptide Materials on Phospholipid Membranes by Atomic Force Microscopy, 225-235.
- Cantilever Sensors for Rapid Optical Antimicrobial Sensitivity Testing. ACS Sensors, 5(10), 3133-3139. View this article in WRRO
- Imaging live bacteria at the nanoscale: comparison of immobilisation strategies. The Analyst, 144(23), 6944-6952. View this article in WRRO
- Single-molecule kinetics of pore assembly by the membrane attack complex. Nature Communications, 10(1), ---. View this article in WRRO
- PEGylated surfaces for the study of DNA–protein interactions by atomic force microscopy. Nanoscale, 11(42), 20072-20080. View this article in WRRO
- Bacterial killing by complement requires membrane attack complex formation via surface‐bound C5 convertases. The EMBO Journal, 38(4).
- Author Correction: Tuneable poration: host defense peptides as sequence probes for antimicrobial mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 8(1).
- Tuneable poration : host defense peptides as sequence probes for antimicrobial mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 8(1). View this article in WRRO
- DNA Origami Inside-Out Viruses. ACS Synthetic Biology, 7(3), 767-773.
- The role of C5 convertases in membrane attack complex dependent killing of Gram-negative bacteria. Molecular Immunology, 89, 154-154.
- Engineering monolayer poration for rapid exfoliation of microbial membranes. Chemical Science, 8(2), 1105-1115.
- Biomimetic Hybrid Nanocontainers with Selective Permeability. Angewandte Chemie, 128(37), 11272-11275.
- Biomimetic Hybrid Nanocontainers with Selective Permeability. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 55(37), 11106-11109.
- Single-Molecule Reconstruction of Oligonucleotide Secondary Structure by Atomic Force Microscopy. Small, 10(16), 3257-3261. View this article in WRRO
- Nanoscale imaging reveals laterally expanding antimicrobial pores in lipid bilayers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(22), 8918-8923.
- Atomic Force Microscopy with Nanoscale Cantilevers Resolves Different Structural Conformations of the DNA Double Helix. Nano Letters, 12(7), 3846-3850.
- High-speed atomic force microscopy of dental enamel dissolution in citric acid. Archives of Histology and Cytology, 72(4/5), 209-215.
- Cantilever Sensors for Rapid Optical Antimicrobial Sensitivity Testing.
- Studies of G-quadruplexes formed within self-assembled DNA mini-circles. Chemical Communications, 52(84), 12454-12457.
- TopoStats - an automated tracing program for AFM images.
- Imaging DNA Structure by Atomic Force Microscopy, Methods in Molecular Biology (pp. 47-60). Springer New York
Conference proceedings papers
- Probing antimicrobial mechanisms for effective strategies to overcome resistance. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 48 (pp S223-S223)
- Visualisation of DNA conformational changes in situ at nanometre resolution. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 46 (pp S369-S369)
- A combinatorial single-molecule study of ligand-gated ion channels and monoclonal antibodies. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 46 (pp S371-S371)
- Investigating the mechanism of action of a novel antimicrobial peptide on live E. coli cells. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 46 (pp S389-S389)
Software / Code
- 2 Methods for DNA Adsorption on a Mica Substrate for AFM Imaging in Fluid v1 (protocols.io.bncjmaun).
- Atomic Force Microscopy of DNA and DNA-Protein Interactions v1 (protocols.io.bncemate).
- 3 Pre-imaging Setup for High Resolution AFM in Fluid v1 (protocols.io.bncnmave).
- 5 Methods for DNA-protein imaging by AFM in fluid v1 (protocols.io.bncqmavw).
- 1 Preparation of Mica Substrate v1 (protocols.io.bnb2maqe).
- 4 Optimizing AFM Imaging in PFT for High Resolution AFM Imaging on DNA v1 (protocols.io.bncpmavn).
- Research group
- Daniel Rollins (AFM analysis of supercoiled DNA interactions)
- Mingxue Du (TopoStats: Automating AFM analysis of DNA & protein interactions)
- Libby Holmes (Complex DNA structures in cancer)
- Max Gamil (Deep probabilistic models for analysing complex DNA structures)
PhD Students (UCL):
Kavit Main (Single molecule insights into DNA-Topoiomerase interactions)
- Teaching activities
- BIE103 (Introduction to Bioengineering)
- MAT360 (Research skills)
- MAT408 (Bioimaging)
- MEC438 (Preparation for Practice)
- Professional activities
- British Biophysical Society committee member
- Royal Microscopical Society Data Analysis in Imaging committee member
- Wiley Biopolymers editorial board member
- Co-director of the INSIGNEO biomedical imaging pillar
- Head of the Henry Royce Nanocharacterisation Laboratory
- Co-organiser of the international Royal Microscopical Society ‘SPM and AFM’ conference series
- Co-organiser of the first international Royal Microscopical Society ‘AFM data analysis’ conference
- Young Investigator Award - DNA, UK Nucleic Acids Forum 2019
- Journal of Molecular Recognition Award 2014
- National Physical Laboratory’s Raleigh Prize 2013