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

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

March 2018 - Congratulation to Christian Tiede and the eLife paper for it highly commended award from NC3Rs.

Febuary 2018 - Two new papers published - a review on binding proteins and a new diagnostics papers


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 BHF 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 BBSRC 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.


Maia started her PhD in 2017. Her research is focused on developing in vivo tools for studying protein-protein interactions. Maia uses protein aggregation and complementation assays, as well as NanoBRET assays to characterise Affimer protein protein interactions


Britta is an  PhD student. Her research has focused on developing isoform specific Affimers against Ras family members. She is using protein biochemistry, phage display, molecular modelling and cellular assays to characterise these interactions.


Anna is a part time PhD student. 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.


Sophie is Universtiy funded PhD student.  Her research is focused on developing Affimers for studying MAPK signalling in cancer by targeting SOS. Sophie uses molecular biology, nucleotide exchange assays, and X-Ray crystallography to study how our reagents regulate SOS.

Ajinkya started his PhD in 2017. His research is focused on developing Affimers to inhibit RAS. Ajinkya uses protein production, pull down crystallography.


Greg is a PhD student funded by BBSRC and Avacta Life Sciences. His research is focused on characterising Affimers for studying Src homology 2 (SH2) domains. Greg uses molecular and cell biology, crystallography and imaging to study the role of SH2 function.


Annie is a MRes student and her research has focused on characterising Affimers against NDM1. Annie is using molecular biology,  enzyme assays and bacterial assays to study how our reagents alter protein function.


Keri is an MRes student. Her research is focused on developing Affimers that show specificty to different isoforms of SOS. Keri is using phage display, protein biochemistry and numerous biochemical and cellular assay in her studies.


Thomas is a MRes student and his research has focused on characterising Affimers against SH2 domains. Thomas is using cellular assays and crystallography to identify novel regulators of signalling cascades.


Abhinav is an MRes student. His research is focused on characterising Affimers against PAK5. Abhinav is using cellular assays, protein biochemistry and crystallography in his studies.

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.