Portrait of Professor Neil Kad

Professor Neil Kad

Reader in Molecular Biophysics


In my lab we use single molecule techniques to understand the physical basis of how proteins interact. A number of diseases are linked to alterations in these physical parameters and we aim to find solutions to these problems. 

  1. DNA Repair
  2. Muscle Contraction
  3. Neurodegenerative Disease 

We have been funded by the BBSRC, Parkinson's UK, British Heart Foundation, Royal Society and the STFC. 
Link to External lab home page

Neil Kad joined the School of Biosciences in August 2014, his previous positions were: 

  • 2007-2014 – Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex 
  • 2004-2007 – Research Associate (PI: Prof. DM. Warshaw), Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, University of Vermont, Vermont USA.
  • 2001-2004 - Postdoctoral Research Associate (PI: Prof. DM. Warshaw), Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, University of Vermont, Vermont USA. 
  • 1998-2001 – Postdoctoral Research Associate (PI: Prof. SE. Radford), Department of Biochemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds UK. 
  • 1994-1998 - Ph.D. in the conformational kinetics of the chaperonins GroEL and GroES (PI: Prof. AR. Clarke). Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol
  • 1991-1994 - B.Sc. (Hons) Biochemistry. University of Sheffield 

Investigating the function of motile enzymes on their tracks. I have two main research foci, the first involves looking at DNA repair and the second myosin function. The latter is the motor enzyme responsible for a number of cellular tasks from muscle contraction to cargo transport. 

ORCID: 0000-0002-3491-8595 

Research interests

My key research areas are: 

  • DNA repair 
  • Single Molecule Biophysics 
  • Muscle Contractility Amyloid disease and inhibition 
  • Molecular Motors 

To study these enzymes we use single molecule techniques, in particular Fluorescence Microscopy and a technique called tightroping, where we suspend nanowires of DNA or actin between surface immobilised pedestals.
We label our proteins with quantum dots, these are small nanocrystals that fluoresce brightly and are extremely resistant to photobleaching, making them ideal tools in the study of biological processes.
Using these approaches we are able to shed light on how the enzymes involved in DNA repair interact with one another and with their DNA substrate.
In addition, we have been able to show how myosin's function is coupled to load, and also how myosin's function is related to its structure.
Finally we are really interested in advanced technologies for probing single molecules, such as the use of nanoprobes in collaboration with the Rutherford Appleton Labs in Harwell.


Stage 1 

  • BI301 -Enzymes and Introduction to Metabolism: Module convener   
  • BI629 -Proteins: Structure and Function:  
  • BI600 -Research project: Module convenor 


MSc-R projects available for 2020/21

Investigating the molecular basis of human heart disease using cutting-edge imaging The leading cause of sudden cardiac death in patients less than 35 yrs of age is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Famous cases include Fabrice Muamba who collapsed on the football pitch but was resuscitated, and Mark Vivian Foe, who sadly passed away as a result of this disease. There are over 1400 mutations identified for this genetic disease, but we don’t understand how this results in disease. Using state-of-the-art imaging technologies we are in a unique position to shed light on how some of these mutations result in disease. Additional research costs: £1500
Correcting the code of life The basis of cancer is DNA damage, you will investigate how cells protect themselves from damage. This project will use cutting-edge imaging of fluorescently tagged proteins in live bacterial cells. In addition, you will study DNA repair in vitro using techniques unique to our lab. As part of this masters degree you will learn imaging techniques, molecular biology, microbiology and biochemistry. 
Additional research costs: £1500   

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