Browse/search for people

Professor Mark Dillingham

Professor Mark Dillingham

Professor Mark Dillingham
B.Sc.(Bristol), Ph.D.(Oxon.)

Professor of Biochemistry

Office Room D.46
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Clifton BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 3312159


Helicases as modular components of DNA processing machines

Helicases are motor proteins that translocate along and unwind duplex nucleic acids into their component single strands in an ATP-dependent manner. They are exceptionally abundant enzymes and constitute about 1% of the proteome. Accordingly, they are involved in a wide variety of nucleic acid transactions including DNA replication, repair, recombination and transcription and virtually every aspect of RNA metabolism. Our research is focused on uncovering the role of such helicases in complex DNA manipulations, including the processing of broken DNA for repair by homologous recombination and the resolution of conflicts between DNA replication and transcription.

Figure: AddAB helicase-nuclease bound to a DNA break (Saikrishnan et al., EMBO J. 2012, 31, 1568)


Chromosome dynamics

Genetic information is commonly stored in very large DNA molecules called chromosomes. These molecules must be efficiently condensed and segregated into daughter cells within the confines of a crowded cell. Remarkably, a whole myriad of other DNA transactions including transcription and repair occur simultaneously on the same molecule. Using Bacillus subtilis as a model system, we are studying the co-ordination of DNA replication, condensation and segregation, with a particular emphasis on the role of structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) proteins.

Figure: V- and O-shaped SMC proteins imaged by atomic force microscopy (Fuentes-Perez et al. Biophys. J., 2012, 102, 839)


Join our group!

We are always interested in hearing from talented scientists who wish to join the laboratory. Please contact Mark Dillingham for an informal discussion of the opportunities that are currently available.



Mark Dillingham's research is in the field of DNA:protein interactions. He obtained his D. Phil. in Oxford with Dale Wigley studying the structure and mechanism of DNA helicases.  This research was developed further in postdoctoral study at the University of California at Davis (with Steve Kowalczykowski) and at the National Institute for Medical Research (with Martin Webb) which focused on how helicase motors were integrated into larger machines, such as those responsible for the repair of double-stranded DNA breaks.

The Dillingham laboratory was established in Bristol in 2005. Recent and current work has focussed on the mechanisms of double-stranded DNA break repair, transcription:replication conflicts and chromosome segregation (see research interests for further details). This work has been supported by major grant funding and fellowships from the Royal Society, the European Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. Mark was awarded the Colworth medal of the Biochemical Society in 2010.


Macromolecular Structure, Dynamics and Function

Molecular Genetics

Recombinant DNA Technology

Protein Assemblies and Molecular Machines

Research Training

Cellular Information

Advanced Options in Biochemistry – DNA

Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences I

Biophysics and Molecular Life Sciences II

MSc Core Skills



School of Biochemistry

Other sites

School of Biochemistry staff

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Edit this profile If you are Professor Mark Dillingham, you can edit this page. Login required.

PDF versionDownload PDF