Dr Eric Hewitt

Dr Eric Hewitt


PhD from the University of Manchester in 1994, followed by postdoctoral work at the University of Dundee, University College London and the University of Cambridge. Appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Leeds in 2002 and Senior Lectuer/Associate Professor in 2011


  • Research group leader
  • Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence Fellow

Research interests

The endocytic pathway and lysosomes in health and disease

Lysosomes are membrane bound organelles whose functions include the degradation of cellular and extracellular material. The endocytic pathway is major route by which lysosomal proteins and materials destined for degradation are delivered to lysosomes.  We are investigating the roles of potassium ion channels in the trafficking of molecules in the endoyctic pathway and in the function of lysosomes.

Cell biology of amyloid disease

The formation of insoluble amyloid fibrils is associated with a spectrum of devastating human disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes and dialysis-related amyloidosis. In these disorders the formation of amyloid fibrils results in cellular dysfunction and tissue destruction.  Understanding the mechanisms of amyloid toxicity is a priority if we are to develop new therapeutics for the amyloidoses. Our goal is to determine how the structure and physical properties of amyloid fibrils and their assembly intermediates affects the function and viability of cells. This involves a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary approach in which information obtained structural biology techniques is integrated with cell biological analyses. Current work focuses on exploring a novel single molecule platform, nanoinjection, for the delivery of amyloid aggregates into the cytoplasm of cells.  This will enable protein aggregates to be assembled and characterised biophysically in vitro, before delivering defined numbers of aggregates into cells for functional analysis.

Molecular immunology

We also have a longstanding interest in antigen presentation by MHC molecules, exploring both the mechanisms of antigen presentation, and how viruses evade detection by the immune system.  Current work, with colleagues in St James Hospital, is exploring the role of anti-MHC antibodies in graft rejection. In addition we are interested in how beta2-microglobulin, a subunit of MHC class I molecules, misfolds to form amyloid in dialysis-related amyloidosis,

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc, Reading; PhD, Manchester
  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Leeds

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Student education

Postgraduate studentship areas:

Teaching and Scholarship of Learning and Teaching

  • I teach on the undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • I am Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence fellow studying the role of assessment in awarding gaps in the Faculty of Biological Sciences

Research groups and institutes

  • Cell and Organismal Biology
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>