The Gene Machines group

Exploring biology, one molecule at a time

Gene expression is the vital path that converts DNA information into functional proteins. Our group studies mechanisms and machines of gene expression using single-molecule biophysical methods and biochemistry. We observe single biomachines in real time, both "in vitro" and inside living cells. Our favourite machines come from microbes, especially from the bacterium E.coli and the influenza virus.

We also develop new research tools, such as single-molecule fluorescence and super-resolution methods, microscopes, assays, and software. We then leverage our biological understanding and our new "tools" to build novel biosensors and diagnostic platforms

Our team is a Biological Physics research group within Condensed Matter Physics, and has recently relocated to the new Oxford Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery, an interdisciplinary institute focusing on using physical approaches to study cellular mechanisms. We are also linked to many of the Oxford Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) programmes (including the Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP and the Chemistry-in-Cells programmes).

Latest News

2024 Feb

Congrats to Hafez and Oli on their NusG publication, see Single-Molecule Tracking Reveals the Functional Allocation, in vivo Interactions and Spatial Organization of Universal Transcription Factor NusG

We are hiring! We have a 4-year opening for a single-molecule biophysicist AND a 4-year opening for a single-cell microbiologist. Apply by March 27th or tell your friends to do so (:-)

Our lab (Hafez, Jagadish, Oli, Achilles) is organising the 35th RNA polymerase workshop at Oxford (18-19th March, 2024). Registration is open until March 11th. Abstracts are due until March 4th. Looking fwd to hearing your new transcription and RNAP stories!

2024 Jan

Very sad to see you go, Christof! All the best for your new adventures!

2023 Dec

The infection inspection is released. Congrats to Ali on the work of Infection Inspection: Using the power of citizen science to help with image-based prediction of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli

2023 Nov

Congratulations to Alex and Piers for publishing Deep learning and single-cell phenotyping for rapid antimicrobial susceptibility detection in Escherichia coli

2023 Sep

Welcome to the lab, Ed and Jacob!

2023 Jul

Exciting preprint for Stelios! See Rapid Identification of Bacterial isolates Using Microfluidic Adaptive Channels and Multiplexed Fluorescence Microscopy

We're saying goodbye to Heesoo - best of luck with your new work back in South Korea!

Anna is sadly leaving us after finishing her PhD - she is now off to new adventures. Congratulations!

2023 Jun

Congrats to Andrew for publishing his work High-throughput super-resolution analysis of influenza virus pleomorphism reveals insights into viral spatial organization

Well done Anna for your work on The displacement of the σ70finger in initial transcription is highly heterogeneous and promoter-dependent

Congrats on finishing your PhD, Andrew! We're sad to see you go - good luck for your exciting new projects with Seamus Holden!

2023 Apr

Hello REFRESH, goodbye photobleaching! Congrats Mirjam for your paper on Bleaching-resistant, Near-continuous Single-molecule Fluorescence and FRET Based on Fluorogenic and Transient DNA Binding

2022 Dec

Excited to see Nic's viral-detection paper in press! See: Virus Detection and Identification in Minutes Using Single-Particle Imaging and Deep Learning

2022 Oct

-Welcome to the Lab, Jagadish and Qing! We're excited to have you here!

2022 Feb

Congrats to Becky for the preprint of Transient DNA binding to gapped DNA substrates links DNA sequence to the single-molecule kinetics of protein-DNA interactions

Congrats to Jun for publishing on RNA polymerase redistribution supports growth in E. coli strains with a minimal number of rRNA operons

2021 Sep

-A warm welcome to Piers! We're looking forward to working with you!

News(2017 Mar -2021 Jul)