Professor Tim Dafforn PhD

Dr Tim Dafforn

School of Biosciences
Professor of Biotechnology
Knowledge Exchange lead for Biosciences

Contact details

Address
School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Professor Tim Dafforn has established himself as an expert in biophysical spectroscopy with a keen interest in synthetic biology. Professor Dafforn has developed a number of projects from inception through to commercial realization.

Qualifications

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry(Cardiff University)

PhD ProteinEngineering (Bristol University) 

Biography

HARNESSING ENGINEERING BIOLOGY AND BIONANOTECHNOLOGY 

Professor Dafforn's fundamental research interests focus on the application of nano-technology approaches to enhance the exploitation of biomolecules for public good. His research has led to the development of new methods (SMALPs) to extract and purify membrane proteins and the development of novel diagnostics systems. One of the most high profile of these systems has been the development of RTF-EXPAR, the worlds fastest method for detecting pathogen RNA (including SARS-CoV-2).  

BUSINESS AND POLICY IMPACT 

Professor Dafforn is also keenly interested in methods to maximise the impact of research. He has worked at the highest levels of UK government as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy developing policy on science exploitation and entrepreneurship education. He has also founded two businesses to exploit research produced within his laboratory.

Teaching

Professor Dafforn enjoys teaching, and is keen on the adoption of modern teaching practices. His current teaching activities focus on delivering applied courses that enhance the ability of students to translate their science. 

Research

Over the past 2 billion years life has been evolving to produce the wonderful biological diversity we see today. At the molecular level evolution has produced nano-molecular machines of wonderful complexity. Tim’s research is focused upon studying these wonders, understanding how they assemble and harnessing their function for good. Currently his studies have three streams of research:

  1. Studying and understanding the complex molecular machinery that underlies bacterial cell division.
  2. Developing novel nanoencapsulation methods that allow large scale production of membrane proteins.
  3. Building nano-assemblies that can be used in detection systems

The last two of these projects have provided seven patents that are currently the focus of two commercialisation projects.

 

Other activities

While Science and Science Policy are Tim's work passions he believes that it is important to let your mind explore other areas in your leisure. He spends leisure time supporting Leicester Tigers Rugby team and obsessively watching F1. He also competes in long distant car rallies with a variety of 50 year old vehicles.

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Grime, R, Logan, R, Nestorow, S, Sridhar, P, Edwards, PC, Tate, CG, Klumperman, B, Dafforn, T, Poyner, DR, Reeves, PJ & Wheatley, M 2021, 'Differences in SMA-like polymer architecture dictate the conformational changes exhibited by the membrane protein rhodopsin encapsulated in lipid nano-particles', Nanoscale, vol. 13, no. 31, pp. 13519-13528. https://doi.org/10.1039/d1nr02419a

Vafaei, S, Allabush, F, Tabaei, SR, Male, L, Dafforn, TR, Tucker, JHR & Mendes, PM 2021, 'Förster resonance energy transfer nanoplatform based on recognition-induced fusion/fission of DNA mixed micelles for nucleic acid sensing', ACS Nano, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 8517-8524. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c00156

Carter, JG, Pfukwa, R, Riley, L, Tucker, JHR, Rodger, A, Dafforn, TR & Klumperman, B 2021, 'Linear dichroism activity of chiral poly(p-aryltriazole) foldamers', ACS Omega, vol. 6, no. 48, pp. 33231-33237. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.1c06139

Hawkins, OP, Jahromi, CPT, Gulamhussein, AA, Nestorow, S, Bahra, T, Shelton, C, Owusu-mensah, QK, Mohiddin, N, O'rourke, H, Ajmal, M, Byrnes, K, Khan, M, Nahar, NN, Lim, A, Harris, C, Healy, H, Hasan, SW, Ahmed, A, Evans, L, Vaitsopoulou, A, Akram, A, Williams, C, Binding, J, Thandi, RK, Joby, A, Guest, A, Tariq, MZ, Rasool, F, Cavanagh, L, Kang, S, Asparuhov, B, Jestin, A, Dafforn, TR, Simms, J, Bill, RM, Goddard, AD & Rothnie, AJ 2021, 'Membrane protein extraction and purification using partially-esterified SMA polymers', Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, vol. 1863, no. 12, 183758. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2021.183758

Carter, JG, Iturbe, LO, Duprey, J-LHA, Carter, IR, Southern, CD, Rana, M, Bosworth, A, Beggs, AD, Hicks, MR, Tucker, JHR & Dafforn, TR 2021, 'Sub-5-minute detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using a Reverse Transcriptase-Free Exponential Amplification Reaction, RTF-EXPAR', medRxiv, vol. 2021, pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.31.20248236

Carter, JG, Orueta Iturbe, L, Duprey, J-LHA, Carter, IR, Southern, CD, Rana, M, Whalley, CM, Bosworth, A, Beggs, AD, Hicks, MR, Tucker, JHR & Dafforn, TR 2021, 'Ultrarapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA using a reverse transcription-free exponential amplification reaction, RTF-EXPAR', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118, no. 35, e2100347118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2100347118

Hall, SCL, Clifton, LA, Tognoloni, C, Morrison, KA, Knowles, TJ, Kinane, CJ, Dafforn, TR, Edler, KJ & Arnold, T 2020, 'Adsorption of a styrene maleic acid (SMA) copolymer-stabilized phospholipid nanodisc on a solid-supported planar lipid bilayer', Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, vol. 574, pp. 272-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2020.04.013

Tucker, J, Ali, A, Little, H, Carter, J, Douglas, C, Hicks, M, Kenyon, DM, Lacomme, C, Logan, R & Dafforn, T 2020, 'Combining bacteriophage engineering and linear dichroism spectroscopy to produce a DNA hybridisation assay', RSC Chemical Biology. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0CB00135J

Passaretti, P, Sun, Y, Dafforn, T & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2020, 'Determination and characterisation of the surface charge properties of the bacteriophage M13 to assist bio-nanoengineering', RSC Advances, vol. 10, no. 42, pp. 25385-25392. https://doi.org/10.1039/d0ra04086j

Passaretti, P, Khan, I, Dafforn, TR & Goldberg Oppenheimer, P 2020, 'Improvements in the production of purified M13 bacteriophage bio-nanoparticle', Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 18538. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75205-3

Dafforn, T 2020, 'Influence of DIBMA Polymer Length on Lipid Nanodisc Formation and Membrane Protein Extraction', Biomacromolecules. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.0c01538

Dafforn, T 2020, 'Insights on the Quest for the Structure-Function Relationship of the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier', Biology. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology9110407

Routledge, SJ, Jamshad, M, Little, HA, Lin, Y, Simms, J, Thakker, A, Spickett, CM, Bill, RM, Dafforn, TR, Poyner, DR & Wheatley, M 2020, 'Ligand-induced conformational changes in a SMALP-encapsulated GPCR.', Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, vol. 1862, no. 6, 183235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2020.183235

Dafforn, T 2020, 'Pandemic research: UK must coordinate', Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-01654-5

Dafforn, T 2020, 'Releasing the technical 'shackles' on GPCR drug discovery: opportunities enabled by detergent-free polymer lipid particle (PoLiPa) purification', Drug Discovery Today: Technologies. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2020.08.006

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Professor Dafforn has extensive experience in national and international policy making in both science and Entrepreneurship policy. He has served as: 

a) Chief Scientific and Chief Entrepreneurial Advisor to the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

And is currently:

a) Chair of the Institute of Engineering Technology's Innovation and Skills Panel

b) Member of the Ministerial led UK Engineering Biology Leadership Council

c) Member of the Defence Science Expert Committee at the Ministry of Defence

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities