Dr. Steven P. D. Harborne

Dr. Steven P. D. Harborne


I am a senior PDRA in the Goldman laboratory. I intend to make an impact as a leading expert in the field of membrane protein structural biology by combining state-of-the-art computational and experimental approaches. During my PhD and PostDoc work, I have had extensive experience with eukaryotic protein expression and purification. I also combined deep sequence analysis and novel applications of thermostability assays to understand protein mechanisms on a molecular level. I have written custom computational tools for the analysis of protein-protein interactions, deep sequence analysis and automated DNA primer design.

Research interests

My goal is to optimise protein sequence to stabilise membrane proteins for structural and functional studies. To do this, we need a general-purpose platform for the improvement of membrane protein stability to aid X-ray crystallography and EM, leading to structure-function understanding and structure-guided drug discovery against plant, animal and human targets. This will be a huge step forward in the field of membrane protein structural biology: previously, a great many mutations have been necessary (usually every single residue of the protein) to find stabilising mutations. This is both costly and time-consuming. I will work at the problem from both ends.

I will explore methods to decrease the time and cost of making many different gene constructs on a large scale by 10-100 fold. I will also improve our ability to predict the best construct designs in-silico, decreasing the need for as many mutations. We will take a trans-disciplinary approach drawing on the latest technological advancements in the fields of membrane protein structural biology, DNA science, bioinformatics, statistics, molecular dynamics simulations, protein modelling and microfluidics.

<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 - University of Cambridge
  • Undergraduate MBiolSci - University of Sheffield
  • A-level - Winstanley College

Professional memberships

  • Biochemical Society Member
<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>