Team leader - Mathew Horrocks

Mathew was born and brought up in Halifax, West Yorkshire, before studying Chemistry at Oriel College, University of Oxford. He did his Master's project with Professor Mark Wallace, where he was first introduced to single-molecule techniques. Following this, he moved to the University of Cambridge to work with Professor David Klenerman, developing microscopy techniques to study the protein aggregates formed in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Following a brief stint researching in New South Wales, Australia, Mathew returned to Cambridge in 2016 to take up a Junior Research Fellowship at Christ’s College, and a Herchel Smith Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. He moved to the University of Edinburgh to head the ESMB Group in January 2018. 

When not in the lab, Mathew enjoys competing in triathlons, and has completed an Ironman in Weymouth (2016).

Ph.D. Student - Craig Leighton

Craig is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Tilo Kunath's group, co-supervised by Mathew. Craig studied pharmacology at the University of Strathclyde, before going on to complete a masters by research degree in biomedical sciences specialising in neuroscience at the University of Glasgow. It was at the University of Glasgow he developed an interest in regenerative medicine, which motivated him to complete his second masters in regenerative medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He is now currently pursuing his Ph.D. with Dr. Tilo Kunath at the Scottish centre for regenerative medicine. His research is in the field of Parkinson’s diseases and focuses on characterising pathogenic structures in cerebral spinal fluid using super-resolution microscopy.

Ph.D. Student - Alex Chappard
Alex is a Ph.D. student who joined this lab as part of the OPTIMA (Optical Medical Imaging with Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship) Ph.D. Programme. Alex completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, following which he completed a research internship at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. It was during this internship that Alex developed an interest in the detection of protein aggregates, specifically with regards to alpha-
synuclein aggregation, which is a key component of Parkinson’s disease. It was this which led Alex to pursue his Ph.D. in this lab, focusing on developing a new super-resolution method for the detection of alpha-synuclein aggregates.

Ph.D. Student - Owen Kantelberg
Owen joined the Single-Molecule Biophysics group as a PhD student in the SPRINT-MND/MS PhD programme. Before this, Owen studied Biochemistry in Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and completed a six-month internship in the University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) EMBL node for single-molecule science, Sydney. The research he carried out in UNSW sparked his interest in super-resolution microscopy and inspired his transition from innate immunity-focused research to neurodegeneration. Owen now uses super-resolution microscopy to study the aggregation of TAR DNA Binding Protein-43 (TDP-43) in motor neuron disease (MND) to understand the role of this pathological hallmark in MND.

Previous members:

Zuzanna Konieczna

Zuzanna is an undergraduate chemistry student, working towards an MChem in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. Her work as a support practitioner has stirred an interest in the human brain and neurological diseases. She is joining the group to complete a summer research project funded by EASTBio, and help with developing a new sensor to observe protein aggregation.