The National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics
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Director: Professor Stephen E. Harding DSc Oxon., Ridder Første Norway

NCHM Lime Lab






Hydrodynamics: means "water movement" and the NCMH (National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics) is a Facility for the characterisation of the sizes, shapes and interactions of large macro molecules of biomedical and industrial importance (proteins, polysaccharides, DNA, synthetic polymers etc.) and in the environment that many occur naturally water or aqueous solution.

Recent Research Highlights

  • Development of improved methods of getting molecular weights (view paper) molecular weight distributions (view paper), conformation (view paper) and interactions (view paper) of macromolecules in solution.
  • The discovery of sugars that behave like proteins (published in Angewandte Chemie and Scientific Reports & reported in Chemistry World)
  • The NCMH contributed the hydrodynamics to Nottingham’s elucidation of the genetics of fruit ripening (view 2016  Nature Biotechnology article).glycovaccine3
  • The nature and stability of glycoconjugate vaccines (view paper 1 &  paper 2)
  • Elucidation of the hydrodynamics of microbial resistance mechanisms: the first demonstration that vancomycin is able to bind to the VanS protein in the glycopeptide resistance pathway (view paper 1 & paper 2)
  • Finding natural polymer consolidants to save alum treated Oseberg Viking ship artefacts – Norways National Treasure - from disintegration (view paper 1 & paper 2)
  • Re-analysis of the 1948 Creeth 2-chain model for DNA (view paper)

Postgraduate Courses

The NCMH runs the following postgraduate courses (1 year full time, 2-4 years part time): 

For details on how to apply for these courses and for PhD study please follow this link. If you are interested in finding out more about the placement opportunities on the MSc ABT course, please contact

Student Sebastian Latwiel talks about the MSc ABT Course

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PhD Students

  • Xinxin Li (Vice-Chancellor Scholar): Hydrodynamic and Rheological properties of polysaccharide – submaxillary mucin complexes (with Prof. Bettina Wolf, University of Birmingham)
  • Jennifer Wakefield (EPSC CDT): Polymer consolidants for Archaeological wood (Joint with Prof. Rob Stockman, School of Chemistry)
  • Michelle Cutajar (EPSRC CDT): Bioinspired consolidants for Archaeological wood (Joint with Prof Rob Stockman)
  • Vlad Dinu (EPSRC CDT): Sub-maxilliary mucins & interaction (Joint with Prof. Ian Fisk and Dr. G. Adams, CIDER, School of Health Sciences)
  • Thomas MacCalman (GSK Vaccines): Glycovaccines (Joint with Dr. G. Adams)
  • Saleh Alsanie: Cucurbit biophysics (Joint with Dr. G. Adams)   
  • Yudong Lu (Chinese Scholar): Glycans in Food and Health (Joint with Dr. Mary Phillips-Jones)

Visiting Researchers

  • Dr Samil Kok: Visiting Fellow, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey

Group ABT ABBE 2016

MSc ABT and MSc ABBE graduation classes combined photo.
Of the 16 students, 14 got Distinctions and 2 got top Merits, a record for ABT/ABBE

Some Earlier Research Highlights

  • Development of the COVOL program with Dame Janet Thornton FRS for predicting/allowing for non-ideality based on protein shape (view paper 1paper 2 and view original Rallison-Harding paper)
  • Development of an algorithm for analysing mucins and other complex polydisperse and non-ideal systems using sedimentation equilibrium in the analytical ultracentrifuge ( view paper
  • Development of triaxial ellipsoids as hydrodynamic models for proteins in solution using ‘hydration independent’ shape functions (view paper) and the ELLIPS suite of algorithms (view paper)
  • Development of SOLPRO algorithm with Prof J. Garcia de la Torre for the bead modelling of complex proteins in solution using ‘hydration independent’ shape functions (view paper and recent review)
  • Development of a combined SEC-sedimentation equilibrium method for polymer molecular weight distribution analysis (view paper 1paper 2paper 3)
  • Development with Dr A.J. Rowe of off-line automatic data capture of analytical ultracentrifuge patterns (view paper)
  • Development with Dr J.M. Creeth of a simple test for macromolecular heterogeneity in a single sedimentation equilibrium experiment (view paper) and the MSTAR method for sedimentation equilibrium analysis of polymer molecular weights (view paper)
  • Development and first demonstration of the principle of co-sedimentation in the analytical ultracentrifugation for ligand-macromolecule interactions (view paper 1paper 2,  paper 3 & a more recent review)
  • First demonstration of a protein which forms trimers – chloramphenicol transacetylase (view paper), and a further demonstration (view paper)
  • First demonstration with Prof Dennis Burton of a cusp shape conformation for the antibody IgE (view paper and book chapter)
  • First demonstration of how pegylation can screen antibodies (view paper)
  • First demonstration of how processing and point mutations can affect the conformation of monoclonal antibodies (view paper)
  • First application of dynamic light scattering with analytical ultracentrifugation to elucidate the after-process integrity of monoclonal antibodies (view paper)
  • First demonstration of a weak association in carbohydrate polymers (view paper)
  • First SEC-MALS elucidation of the molecular weight distribution of polysaccharides (view paper) and mucins (view paper)
  • First application of dynamic light scattering to bacterial spores (view paper) and demonstration of resistance to disinfectants (view paper)
  • Development with Dr Paley Johnson of the theory for the concentration dependence of hydrodynamic parameters (view paper), tested using TYMV (view paper) and a recent update with Prof Don Winzor and Dr David Scott for the concentration dependence of diffusion (view paper)
  • Development of the technique of flotation equilibrium in the analytical ultracentrifuge (view paper)
  • Development of the linear coil array model for the structure mucins (view paper 1paper 2 and review)
  • Discovery of high levels of Viking genes in the population of coastal north-west England (view paper and book 1 and book 2)
  • Development with Prof J. Garcia de la Torre of ‘Crystallohydrodynamics’: combination of x-ray crystallography with hydrodynamics to elucidate the domain orientation of antibodies (view paper 1paper 2)
  • Resolution of an important discrepancy with a theory relating viscosity determination with molecular shape (view paper and review)

Comprehensive list (>520) of publications from the NCMH (Google Scholar) and links (Research Gate)


MSc placement case studies




Contact us

National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics 
University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus

LE12 5RD, U.K.

Email: Tel: +44 (0)115-951-6149