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Professor David Klenerman FRS

Professor David Klenerman, FRS

Professor in Biophysical Chemistry

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 336481

Departments and Institutes


Research Interests

As a physical scientist David Klenerman is interested in developing and applying a range of new biophysical methods, based on laser fluorescence spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy, to important problems in biology, which have not been addressed to date due to the lack of suitable tools. Experiments in his group range from studies of individual biomolecules to living cells. No previous biological background is required for this research at the boundary of physics and biology.

Single molecule fluorescence

In contrast to conventional experiments, which measure ensemble averaged behaviour, single-molecule measurements are able to probe individual molecules to measure variation in their properties and follow their dynamics individually. By studying molecules one at time, specific complexes in a mixture can be identified and analysed without the need for any separation. In collaboration with other scientists the group is exploiting single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy to probe the intramolecular dynamics, conformations and function of range of biologically important molecules and processes including the T-cell receptor on live cells and protein folding. In collaboration with Professor Dobson the Klenerman group is also probing the early stages of the oligomerisation of proteins involved in many neurodegenerative diseases.

Live cell Imaging and Bionanotechnology

In collaboration with Professor Korchev at Imperial College we have developed a method based on a scanning nanopipette that allows robust, high resolution, non- contact imaging of living cells, down to the level of individual protein complexes. It can also be used to probe function by performing nanoscale assays such as locally deliver controlled amounts of reagents or performing single ion channel recording. The figure shows the University of Cambridge crest written in fluorescent DNA. We are using this to watch the details of biological process taking place on the surface of living cells, including viral entry and probe the structure of the cell membrane.

Other Publications

A list of publications can be found here.