I joined the University of Leeds in 2013 as the Chair of Membrane Biology. Before then I was a Professor in Structural Biology in the Department of Biosciences at the University of Helsinki, Finland from 2013, where I still hold a part-time appointment. I am also a Lecture Professor at Nankai University in Tianjin in China. In addition to my primary affiliation in the School of Biomedical Sciences, I am a member of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. My association with the University of Leeds dates back to 2008 and the European Drug Initiative on Channels and Transporters (EDICT), a pan-European consortium led by Peter Henderson. I had a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society (2013-2018).
I was at the University of Helsinki as Research Director (2008-2012) and Head of Research (1999-2008); at the University of Turku in Finland in various roles including Professor from 1992 to 1999, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Rutgers, in New Jersey (1988-1992). I was a Luccile P. Markey Charitable Trust Markey Fellow from 1987 to 1991, and a Ph. D. student and postdoctoral associate with Professor Thomas A. Steitz, Nobelist, at Yale University from 1980 to 1997.
Our current research funding comes from the BBSRC, the Royal Society, and the EU. I coordinate the ViBrANT Innovative Training Network on viral and bacterial adhesion, and am deputy coordinator of the RAMP Innovative Training Network on rational approaches to membrane protein crystallisation.
Our research focuses on understanding interactions in or near the membrane. We are interested in bacterial autotransporter secretion and the host-pathogen interactions that lead to disease; we are interested in cell signalling in the RET tyrosine kinase receptor system; and we are interested in integral membrane pumps and channels, such as the T. maritima pyrophosphatase that we solved in 2012, published in Science, with a key followup paper published in Nature Communications in 2016.
Our current projects include:
- Structure-funtion studies of integral membrane pyrophosphatases (with Colin Fishwick, Antreas Kalli, Sarah Harris, Lars Jeuken, Yuh-Ju Sun, Taiwan; Henri Xhaard, Helsinki)
- Understanding how trimeric autotransporters work (with Dirk Linke Oslo and Volkhard Kempf, Goethe University Frankfurt)
- Understanding Fcγ receptors (with Ann Morgan)
- The mechanism of various tyrosine kinases in structural detail (with Alex Breeze; Matilda Katan, UCL; Mart Saarma, Helsinki)
- Studies of equilibrative nucleoside transporters (with Veli-Pekka Jaakola, Novartis)
- Studies of bacterial efflux pumps (with Peter Henderson, Vincent Postis, Leeds Beckett; Anne-Brit Kolstø, University of Oslo)
- Docentship, University of Helsinki (2002)
- Docentship, University of Turku (1994)
- Ph. D., Yale University (1985)
- B. A. (Hons.) Cambridge University (1980)
- Member of the American Crystallographic Association
- Member of the Biochemical Society
- Member of FEBS
- Member of the International Network of Protein Engineering Centres (INPEC)
Research groups and institutes
- Integrative Membrane Biology
- Structural Biology