Bart Hoogenboom

Professor of Biophysics

Based at UCL

Personal Website

Nanoscale biophysics

Bart Hoogenboom's research is in nanoscale biophysics, broadly centred on physical-chemical questions related to biology at a scale between single molecules and living cells. His core expertise is in atomic force microscopy (AFM). Using an extremely sharp tip, AFM allows us to scan a surface just like a blind person's fingertip reading Braille, “touching” and “feeling” single molecules and/or atoms. Mostly based on AFM, his research at UCL has led to the first visualisation of the DNA double helix and structural variations thereof in solution; the development of novel nanomechanical and computational approaches to understand transport selectivity into and out of the cell nucleus; the understanding of membrane disruption by peptides and pore forming proteins employed by bacteria and by the vertebrate immune system; and the discovery of phase separation at the surface of Gram-negative bacteria. Current research topics in his lab include modes of action of anticancer drugs, mechanisms by which immune cells can kill without being killed, and organisation of bacterial surfaces - and how these can be disrupted by broad-spectrum antibiotics. A common element in all his research projects is tight collaboration with other researchers and labs across disciplinary boundaries, both in academia and in industry.

Selected publications

Phase separation in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli
Benn, GMikheyeva, IVInns, PGForster, JCOjkic, NBortolini, CRyadnov, MG; ... Hoogenboom, BW+ view all (2021) Phase separation in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 118 (44) , Article e2112237118. 10.1073/pnas.2112237118.

Lipid order and charge protect killer T cells from accidental death
Rudd-Schmidt, JAHodel, AWNoori, TLopez, JACho, H-JVerschoor, SCiccone, A; ... Voskoboinik, I+ view all (2019) Lipid order and charge protect killer T cells from accidental death. Nature Communications , 10 (1) , Article 5396. 10.1038/s41467-019-13385-x.

Single-molecule kinetics of pore assembly by the membrane attack complex
Parsons, ESStanley, GJPyne, ALBHodel, AWNievergelt, APMenny, AYon, AR; ... Hoogenboom, BW+ view all (2019) Single-molecule kinetics of pore assembly by the membrane attack complex. Nature Communications , 10 , Article 2066. 10.1038/s41467-019-10058-7.