Dr Alice Pyne

MSci, MRes, EngD

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

UKRI/MRC Rutherford Innovation Fellow & Lecturer in Soft Matter/Polymers

Dr Alice Pyne
+44 114 222 5969

Full contact details

Dr Alice Pyne
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Alice is an MRC/UKRI Innovation Fellow and Lecturer in Soft Matter/Polymers. Prior to this, she was an independent research fellow at the London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL working closely with industry to develop high-resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) technologies, able to resolve variations in the DNA double helix on a single molecule.

Research interests

Alice’s expertise is in high-resolution single-molecule studies of DNA. She has achieved unprecedented resolution for single biomolecules in solution through the development of new AFM methods in collaboration with Bruker (CA, USA).

Her research has resulted in both the highest-quality AFM images of the DNA double helix achieved to date, and the first visualisation of variations in the DNA double helix structure on a single molecule.

Alice has exploited these techniques to interrogate DNA interactions, characterising evaluating quadruplex stabilising molecules: a possible class of anticancer therapeutics through single-molecule visualisation of quadruplex formation.


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Ravi J, Pfeil MP & Pyne AL (2019) Probing antimicrobial mechanisms for effective strategies to overcome resistance. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 48 (pp S223-S223) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pyne ALB, Hoogenboom BW, Vilar R & Maxwell A (2017) Visualisation of DNA conformational changes in situ at nanometre resolution. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 46 (pp S369-S369) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Yon AR, Pyne ALB, Kwakwa K, Lowe AR, Williams WA & Hoogenboom BW (2017) A combinatorial single-molecule study of ligand-gated ion channels and monoclonal antibodies. EUROPEAN BIOPHYSICS JOURNAL WITH BIOPHYSICS LETTERS, Vol. 46 (pp S371-S371) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Pyne ALB, Pfeil M-P, Bennett I, Ravi J, Lamarre B, Hoogenboom BW & Ryadnov MG (2017) 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) RIS download Bibtex download

Software / Code



Research group

PhD Students (London Centre for Nanotechnology):

Isabel Bennett

Isabel’s research looks to determine the action of novel antimicrobial compounds on live bacterial cells using AFM. During her PhD she has also developed an AFM-based diagnostic tool to detect drug resistance in bacteria.

Kavit Main

Kavit’s research uses AFM to gain single-molecule insights into supercoiled DNA-topoisomerase interactions. These insights will facilitate the further development of topoisomerase inhibitors which are currently employed as anti-cancer therapeutic agents.


Our research is facilitated by the atomic force microscopy (AFM) methods capable of resolving the double-helical structure of single DNA molecules. In addition, we develop quantitative, open-source analysis tools that allow us to exploit our large datasets in order to acquire a unique perspective on biomolecular structure and function. Through close interdisciplinary collaboration with computational scientists, molecular biologists, mathematicians, and biophysicists, this methodology converges to determine how the complexity of DNA structure relates to its biological function.

Teaching activities

MAT360 - Mini guided projects

Professional activities
  • Specialist lecture at the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) 2019, Imperial College London
  • Sold out talk at Pint of Science ‘Atoms to Galaxies’ 2019