Matthew R Hicks
Senior Research Fellow
Telephone: +44(0)24 765 23293
Fax: +44(0)24 765 24112
My research interests are in the kinetics of membrane peptide folding and the application of biophysical techniques to biological systems. I specialise in the development of linear dichroism spectroscopy which can be used to determine the orientation of molecules within larger systems. The systems that I am investigating currently are the interactions between antibiotic peptides and membranes, protein fibers and DNA with proteins.
Proteins are molecular machines that perform many of the jobs in our body and in other living organisms. They are made up of strings of amino acids which can fold up into a specific three-dimensional shape determined by the order of the amino acids in the protein sequence. The proteins perform their function by virtue of this shape and the study of the shape of proteins is often called structural biology.
Here is a good wikipedia article on the basics of proteins
All living cells are surrounded by some sort of skin or membrane. These membranes are made of many different types of molecules including proteins (see above), carbohydrates (including sugars) and lipids (fats and oils). The major component of many membranes is the lipid (although it should be noted that most membranes have a significant amount of protein in too - often up to 50%). These lipids have different properties and that have a big influence on the way in which other molecules interact with the membrane. The properties of membranes and their interaction with other molecules is one of my main research interests.