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Boyan Bonev

Associate Professor in Biophysics and Structural Biology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Dr Bonev read Physics at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria and obtained his PhD in Physics from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada under the supervision of Mike Morrow. He lectured in Physics and worked briefly as a postdoc in solid state NMR at Memorial. Dr Bonev moved to Oxford, where he worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford, UK with Tony Watts. He also tutored at St Catherine's College. He worked as a Lecturer in Biochemistry at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham and at present is an Associate Professor in Biophysics and Structural Biology at the School of Life Sciences, Nottingham.

Dr Bonev heads the Biomembrane NMR labs at Nottingham and is a co-Director of the Dynamic Nuclear Magnetization Facility at Nottingham. He is also a member of the HPC Midlands Plus Implementation Board.

Dr Bonev has served on BBSRC committee D, MRC panel on Antimicrobial Resistance and the BSAC Drug Discovery and Development Committee.

Expertise Summary

nuclear magnetic resonance

membrane biophysics

computational biology

structural biology

antibiotic resistance

drug development

Teaching Summary

Biophysics, Structural Biology, Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry

Research Summary

The focus of research in my group is on investigations of the molecular mechanisms, which underpin the recognition and disruption of plasma membranes by protein and peptide antibiotics and toxins.… read more

Selected Publications

The overall goal of the Bonev lab is to characterise the structure, function and assembly of biological membranes at the atomic and mesoscopic level. Much of this work extends into efforts to engineer novel properties onto existing protein and peptide progenitors. Particular areas of focus include characterisation of the bacterial envelope, the peptidoglycan biosynthesis and engineering of nature-inspired molecules for targeted therapeutic applications. The tools employed by the lab include solid state MAS and dynamic nuclear polarization NMR, high-performance computer modelling, genetic manipulation of the molecules of interest, combined with biochemical analyses of function.

Current Research

The focus of research in my group is on investigations of the molecular mechanisms, which underpin the recognition and disruption of plasma membranes by protein and peptide antibiotics and toxins. The design of effective and safe biologically active compounds relies on knowledge of the atomic details form such protein-target or peptide-target interactions. A range of biophysical techniques including modern solid state NMR, electron microscopy and neutron reflectivity is used to investigate protein-lipid, protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions, as well as the structure of peptides in their bioactive form on the target membranes.I am particularly interested in the recognition of membrane-associated bacterial cell wall intermediates by antibiotics, which inhibit bacterial cell wall biosynthesis. One such example is the interaction between bacterial lantibiotic nisin from Lactococcus lactis and its target, membrane-associated Lipid II (also targeted by vancomycin).

Past Research

Lipid phases; high-pressure NMR; toxins;

Future Research

We develop:

antibiotic systems for the control of bacteria, resistant to traditional chemotherapy;

mechanisms for rapid detection and preliminary identification of bacteria;

We investigate:

the structure and folding of membrane proteins, specifically, of bacterial outer membrane proteins;

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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