Prof Tim Dafforn

Prof Tim Dafforn


University of Birmingham

Job title

Professor of Biotechnology and Director of Knowledge Transfer




Vitae Research Staff Conference 2013: Inspired Futures
Sessions and workshops Inspiring Careers: Leadership, Entrepreneurship and New Directions                              



I began my science career studying protein engineering under Professor J. John Holbrook at the Bristol University. During these studies I developing 2 approaches to enzyme engineering based on forced evolution and rational design. I moved to a PDRA position in the laboratory of Professor Robin Carrell FRS in the Cambridge Institute of Medical Research. Working with Dr Arthur Lesk I studied the mechanism of action of a class of serine proteinase inhibitors (SERPINS) involved in innate immunity and blood clotting. During this time I defined a mechanistic and structural explanation which underlies a group of diseases known as serpinopathies. In 2003 I was awarded a prestigious MRC Career development fellowship to continue my work on the SERPINS, as part of this I worked with Professor Alison Rodger (Warwick) to establish Linear Dichroism as an important technique for the study of membrane proteins and protein fibres. More recently I have developed three research strands all enabled by linear dichroism. Firstly I have produced insights into the assemblies that underlie bacterial cell division. Secondly I have developed a novel method that trivializes the production of membrane proteins enabling advances in bioprocessing. Finally I have developed a platform bioassay that represents one of the first commercial applications of synthetic biology.