Probably all life processes are controlled by proteins. Proteins interact with each other and these interactions form giant networks which researchers only recently started to unravel. The primary research in my group is devoted to understanding of how proteins interact with themselves and with each other, and how their interactions are linked to diseases, such as viral infection, inflammation and cancer. If we understand the critical interactions causing the problems, we can change these interactions using carefully designed therapeutic drugs. One of the methods which we use is Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, which allows us to look inside molecules, determining their shape and form, and mapping protein interaction interfaces. By observing the signals from each atom, the minute details of protein interactions can be revealed. Apart from looking at “useful” protein interactions, we are also interested in finding ways to prevent proteins from clumping together non-specifically, forming aggregates. We look at novel ways to prevent protein aggregation which would enable faster development of new protein-based biopharmaceuticals (such as antibodies) able to treat wide range of diseases, from autoimmune disorders to cancer. This may make injections of such new drugs less painful as well!
Alexander Golovanov is a Reader in the School of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering, working in the field of structural biology, and recently, in applications of light-coupled NMR spectroscopy for studies of processes triggered by light.
Alexander graduated in 1988 from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology with the degree equivalent to MSc. He then joined NMR group in Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and worked there with Professor Arseniev for a number of years. Alexander obtained his PhD in 1994 doing the project in the same group, and then became the member of staff, subsequently being promoted all the way from Junior to Senior Investigator.
In 1998 Alexander came to Leicester University (UK) to work as a Research Associate with Professor Gordon Roberts and Professor Lu-Yun Lian. In 2000 Alexander has moved to Manchester to be appointed as an Experimental Officer and NMR Manager in the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. He was promoted to Senior Experimental Officer shortly after, in 2001. From 2006 Alexander moved to academic position in the Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, and later transferred to the Department of Chemistry.