The lab’s main interests lie in transmission electron microscopy and the image-processing technique of single particle analysis (from 1996), as well as indulging in various X-ray crystallography projects. Jon spent over a decade as a wet-lab biochemist (since 1992), and we use 15+ different biochemical and biophysical techniques, in parallel with those of structural biology.
Applying this expertise, as well as guiding and training others, we currently have 5 main research programmes, showcased on this website.
Jon’s career as a scientist has grown from his degrees (1993, B.Sc. Hons 2(i) in Biochemistry, Imperial College, University of London; 1997, Ph.D. “Structural Characterisation of Photosystem II”, University of London; 1997, Diploma of Imperial College) and support from The Royal Society (University Research Fellowship(s), 2001-2012) with additional government BBSRC council funding and, more recently, that of Japan's JST/CREST initiative. The primary focus has consistently been in researching, and revealing, novel photosynthetic structures. Typically these structures have been found to be 20 to 40 nm in diameter (500 to 3,000 kDa in molecular mass) and we have calculated their structures to resolutions of between 15 to 30 Å. Of significance are the 2D/3D structures of functionally intact, previously membrane-bound (solubilised) photosystem reaction centres, retaining their light-harvesting antennae. Many different structures have been reported, isolated from a variety of organisms. We hope these 2D/3D structural maps will aid future research, elsewhere, in the design of artificial photosynthesis/renewable energy technologies. Separately, Jon has investigated macromolecules involved in bacterial pathogenesis, neurotoxicity and spermatogenesis. In addition, a light harvesting protein (C-phycocyanin) was resolved to 1.45 Å resolution by X-ray crystallography and several others to similar high resolution (c/f .pdb entries at the RCSB). Our research focus is shifting to engage in those proteins required for the assembly, repair or regulation of the photosystems and their associated light harvesting assemblies, with a strong element of computational chemistry & biology. We continue to have an interest in other fields, such as light-sensing (phytochrome) and iron metabolism (ferritin). The electron microscope, either the transmission or scanning variant, is a wonderful tool and one may be drawn into any project, not necessarily photosynthetic, in the pursuit of serendipity; Jon is a management group member for Queen Mary’s NanoVision microscopy centre. For five years Jon was an Associate Editor of the Royal Society of Chemistry's journal Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (2005-2009) and for the scientific community generally he frequently referees grants and papers related to his core interests.