Dr Jonathan Lippiat

Dr Jonathan Lippiat


I joined the University of Leeds in 2004. I obtained my PhD from the University of Leicester in 2001, before undertaking postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford. In 2002 I was elected a Junior Research Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford.


  • Research Group Leader
  • Programme Leader

Research interests

I have wide-ranging interests in ion channel properties, structure, and pharmacology. We mainly focus on potassium channels, but also conduct research on calcium channels, chloride channels and transporters. Much of our research is based on ion channels that have been implicated in human disorders or can be targetted by potential therapeutics.


Our current main area of research is on the KNa1.1 sodium-activated potassium channel and KCNT1-related epilepsy. Here we have used cryo-EM structures of the channel in virtual high throughput screening to identify novel inhibitors of the channel. See Cole et al (2020, iScience) and also to assit our understanding of how mutations alter channel activity.

structure of the KNa1.1 proteins structure

KNa1.1 structure, highlighting one subunit in the tetramer, and the location of selected mutated residues.


All of our research projects are interdisciplinary, and we work closely with structural biologist and medicinal chemists, as well as neuroscience researchers. We also collaborate with virology researchers at Leeds in project that involve host cell ion channels in viral infection and replication.


Current projects include:

  • Identification and characterisation of ion channel-binding Affimer proteins
  • KNa1.1 channels, KCNT1, and epilepsy
  • Structural studies of human ion channels
  • Potassium channel pharmacology, structure-based drug discovery
  • Genome editing model human cells with patient-specific mutations.
  • CLC-5 function, Dent's diease, and endocytosis



  • Conventional and automated (Nanion Patchliner) patch clamp electrophysiology 
  • Fluorescence imaging and photometry, cell based fluorescent assays (Flexstation)
  • Gene cloning, mutagenesis, small and large-scale mammalian cell expression
  • Genome editing
  • Structure-based virtual screening


<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>


  • PhD Cell Physiology & Pharmacology
  • BSc Biological Sciences (Physiology, Sandwich)

Professional memberships

  • British Pharmacological Society
  • The Physiological Society

Student education

I am the Programme Leader for Human Physiology undergraduate degrees and a core member of the Pharmacology teaching team.

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Undergraduate research projects involve investigating the pharmacology and physiological roles of human ion channels and transporters.

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Applications are welcome for postgraduate research projects on ion channels  in the above research areas, leading to the degree of PhD or MSc by Research. Please contact me by email for more information.

See also:

Research groups and institutes

  • Integrative Membrane Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Membrane Protein Biology and Disease
  • Molecular Neuroscience

Current postgraduate researchers

<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>