Dr Alice Pyne
MSci, MRes, EngD
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
UKRI/MRC Rutherford Innovation Fellow & Lecturer in Soft Matter/Polymers
+44 114 222 5969
Full contact details
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
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.
- 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.
- TopoStats – A program for automated tracing of biomolecules from AFM images. Methods.
- 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.
- 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
PhD Students (London Centre for Nanotechnology):
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’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