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Dr Darren Tomlinson

Welcome to the Tomlinson lab at the University of Leeds. Our research group is interested in using a novel molecular recognition tool, called an Affimer, to study protein function. An Affimer (also known as an Adhiron) is a scaffold protein that constrains two randomised loops for molecular recognition. They can be used as alternative reagents to antibodies for applications like diagnostics and used to probe the surface of target proteins to identify key domains involved in protein function. Our laboratory provides a service for screening against many types of molecules but our focus is using the Affimer scaffold to understand protein function at the molecular level.

Recent news

2023 - Congratulations to Amy for passing her viva in January

2022 - Chuffed to bit for Anna passing her viva with flying colours in November

2021 - really please to finally publish this paper in Nature Communications 

2019 - it's been sad to see four PhD student leave but they all passed and are doing great in their new positions - well done guys!

2019 - it's also been a good year for publications with papers accepted in Molecular Biology of the Cell, ACS Sensors, Biotechniques, Org Biomol Chem and Blood.

2019 - it was a busy year in 2019 for grant applications. Our group was involved in successful applications to EPSRC, CRUK and BBSRC worth over £2M


Heather is a PDRA funded by Medical Research Council. Her work focuses on on using cell and structural biology to study the mechanisms of Ras-inhibiting Affimers. Heather is using numerous techniques including NMR to understand how these reagents are working.


Thembi is an experienced PDRA funded by the BBSRC to develop Affimers to disrupt protein-protein interactions involved in cardiovascular disease. She has experience in a range of techniques including crystallography, cell based assays, phage display and protein biochemistry.


Amy is a Wellcome Trust PhD student studying Affimers that regulate a key protein involved in many different cancers, Ras. Amy uses numerous assays, molecular biology, protein expression, cell biology and crystallogaphy to understand how these reagents are working with the aim of developing novel small molecule inhibitors.


Paul is an experienced PDRA funded by the Leverhulme to develop Affimers to for super-resolution microscopy techniques. He has experience in a range of techniques including imaging, cell based assays, molecular biology and protein biochemistry.

Sitthinon started his PhD in 2020. His research is focused on developing in vivo tools for studying PAK1 function. Sitthinon uses a range of molecular, cellular and structural biology techniques.


Anna is a technician who recently passed her PhD. She is developing reagents to target Src Homology 3 (SH3) in cancer. She is currently screening against a number of different SH3 domains and uses numerous techniques including phage display, protein expression, molecular biology, and immuno-detection methods.


Annie is a PhD student and her research has focused on characterising Affimers against NDM1 and developing diagnostics/therapeutics against P. aeruginosa. Annie is using molecular biology,  enzyme assays and bacterial assays to study how our reagents alter protein function.

Jack is a PhD student. His research is focused on developing Affimers that show bind and inhibit protein interactions associated with Aurora A. Jack is using phage display, protein biochemistry and numerous biochemical and cellular assay in his studies.

Izzie is a PhD student and her research has focused on developing Affimer reagents as replacements to secondary antibodies in a bid to reduce the use of animals in research. Izzie is using molecular biology, and numerous assays to assess the ability of the reagents.

Christian, Anna and Lewis are members of the successful  BioScreening Technology Group providing a screening service for developing Affimer reagents. Christian is the manager of the group, while Anna and Lewis are highly skilled technicians.

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