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Professor Ben Luisi Group Members


Principal Investigator:

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Prof Ben Luisi, USA shadow

01223 766029,


I obtained my PhD in Cambridge (MRC LMB);Working on protein expression, purification and X-ray data collection.  I am particularly interested in understanding how RNAs are recognised and acted upon for regulating gene expression in bacteria.

I am also interested in structural characterisation of large macro-molecular assemblies involved in RNA metabolism and transmembrane transport. 


Laboratory Manager:

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Dr Michal Blaszczyk, Poland shdw

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I joined Ben Luisi's lab in 2016 as laboratory manager for both the Luisi and Tom Blundell groups. I graduated at Technical University of Lodz in Poland where I completed my PhD in Chemistry.

On a daily basis I take care of the lab and liaise with other units within the University as well as outside it.

Outside of the lab I am interested in an inch figurine painting, guitar playing and travel


Research Associates:


Dr Xue Yuan Pei, TheWorld 50x34px

01223 766020,


I joined the BL group in 2005. 

I obtained my PhD in protein crystallography from CPE, LMB, MRC, U.K.

Since I joined the BL group, I have worked on a range of protein /RNA crystal structures. I am interested in structural biology


Dr Kasia Bandyra, Poland shdw

01223 766020,


After completing my Masters in Molecular Biology at the University of Warsaw I joined the Luisi group in 2009 to do my PhD, and stayed as postdoc after finishing with my dissertation in 2013.

I am interested in activity and specificity of RNase E, the major bacterial endoribonuclease, and its involvement in small, non-coding RNA regulation in E. coli and Salmonella.


Dr Steven Hardwick, UK shdw

01223 766020, Visit my page here


Originally from Carlisle, I completed a Bachelors in Microbiology and PhD in Bacterial Structural Biology at Newcastle University in the group of Prof. Rick Lewis.

Since joining the Luisi group in 2007 my main research interests have been the study of RNA processing proteins in bacteria.  Particularly, I have spent a significant portion of my research time characterising the RNA degradation machinery in Caulobacter crescentus.

Outside of the lab I am a keen runner (in phases), and am a member of the Ely Runners club.


Dr Dijun Du, China shdw

01223 333654,


I practiced as a medical doctor in a respiratory clinic in China for years. I came to Durham University as a Wellcome Trust Fellow at 2002, and did a PhD in Biomedical Sciences there.  I was then trained as an X-ray crystallographer at University of Oxford. I joined Ben Luisi’s Group at Cambridge University at April 2008, to work on the structure and mechanism of E. coli RNA degradosome assembly. Since September 2012, I have focused on the structure and mechanism of tripartite multidrug efflux pumps in Gram-negative bacteria, as well as eukaryotic ion channels. In my spare time, I like Taoist Arts, such as Taoist Meditation and other Health Arts.


Dr Md. Saiful Islam, Bangladesh shdw 55x33px

01223 766020


Originally I am from Bangladesh and completed a Bachelor in Pharmacy (B.Pharm) followed by a Master degree (M.Pharm) in Pharmaceutical Technology at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. In October, 2013, I started working with Professor Chris J. Schofield at the Chemistry Research Laboratory, University of Oxford to pursue my D.Phil. program, which focused on structural and functional characterisation of human oxygenases.

In September, 2017, I joined the group of Professor Ben F. Luisi as a research associate to work on the RNase E degradosome machinery. My research interest is to capture the whole degradosome assembly within the in vivo/native condition by using the electron microscopy.


PhD Students:


Ms Laura Shen, Canada shdw

01223 333654,


Laura joined the lab in October of 2015 after finishing her undergraduate education at McGill university. She is working on elucidating the structure and functions of RhlB in cooperation with the RNA degradosome in hopes of understanding its RNA binding and selection process. Laura enjoys molecular and structural biochemistry, specifically large molecular complexes, hence her current project trajectory.



Mr Tom Dendooven, Belgium shdw

01223 766020,


I am a first-year PhD student who joined the Luisi group in October 2016. Previously I obtained a master’s degree in genetics from KULeuven, Belgium. During my master thesis, I was working on a bacteriophage encoded inhibitor of the P. aeruginosa RNA degradosome in the Lab of Gene Technology (KULeuven) and the Luisi group (University of Cambridge). Currently I am trying to elucidate the structure and working mechanism of the E. coli RNA degradosome with Cryo‑Electron Microscopy techniques (cryo-EM). In my spare time, I like to practice judo at the University Judo club, play the drums and listen to jazz music.


Mr Arthur Neuberger, Germany shdw

01223 333654,


I joined the lab in 2017 after having completed an MPhil in Operations Research. In my current research in the Luisi group, I use electron cryo-microscopy for the structural analyses of bacterial multi-component membrane protein complexes that are involved in the efflux of antibiotics and therewith contribute to the worldwide problem of multiple antibiotic resistance. In my free time, since the start of my MPhil and ever since, I have competed for both my college (Jesus) and the university in various sports, including dance sport (Varsity squad 2015/2016).


Mr Tai Yang, USA shadow

01223 766029,


I did my BS at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, by studying the effects of enzyme mass on molecular motions of the hepatitis D ribozyme. I then joined the Luisi Lab in April 2015 for an MPhil by examining the structure of the RNA degradosome. Currently I am pursuing a PhD by utilizing cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) and light microscopy (TIRF) in order to elucidate both the structural and biophysical properties of the RNA degradosome on membrane. In my free time I like playing basketball, attempting photography, and enjoying the outdoors (when it isn’t pouring).



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Mr Oscar Wilkins

UK shdw 55x27px


Part III

Mr Malitha Ratnaweera

UK shdw 55x27px


Part III