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Dr Jennifer McManus

Dr Jennifer McManus

Dr Jennifer McManus
BSc, PhD

Associate Professor

Area of research

Biophysics and Soft Matter

School of Physics,
HH Wills Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue BS8 1TL
(See a map)


We are interested in how and why proteins, peptides and biopolymers self-assemble into a variety of phases and states including crystals, amorphous solids, gels and demixed liquids. Using an interdisciplinary approach, combining techniques from biochemistry, molecular biology, physical chemistry and physics, we explore the process of assembly with a focus how the physical properties of biomolecules determine the pathway for assembly and the physical characteristics of the assembled state. We are interested in how weak anisotropic protein-protein interactions can be controlled to improve protein crystallization, which we explore using protein phase diagrams. A direct application of this work is in the stability and formulation of biopharmaceutical products and we have worked productively with industry partners in this area. Through an EU funded ITN, RAMP (, we are looking at rational approaches to membrane protein crystallization. We are also interested in the heterogeneity of biomaterials at different lengthscales, and bottom-up synthetic biology. 


Jennifer McManus completed her BSc and PhD degrees in Chemistry at University College Dublin. Following postdoctoral appointments at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she established the Soft Matter and Biophysical Chemistry research group at Maynooth University in Ireland as a Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Lecturer. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016 and served as Head of Department between 2017 and 2020. She moved to the School of Physics at the University of Bristol in February 2020.

 Current Group Members

  • Alesssandro Strofaldi (PhD student - Protein Phase Diagrams)
  • Thi Thanh My Nguyen (PhD student - Membrane Protein Crystallization)
  • Jessica Ames (PhD student - Membrane Protein Crystallization)
  • Paddy Joyce (PhD student - Peptide Self-Assembly)
  • Keith Fenlon (PhD student - Protein Phase Diagrams)
  • Sarah Canon - Senior Technical Officer (Maynooth University)

 Former Group Members (all at Maynooth University)

  • Ruth McNamara (PhD 2014)
  • Susan James (MSc 2011, PhD 2015)
  • Urszula Migas (PhD 2016)
  • Alice Blumlein (PhD 2016, postdoc 2016-2017)
  • Michelle Quinn (PhD 2017)
  • Aoife Buggy (PhD 2018), co-supervised with Mark Fenelon and Andre Brodkorb at Teagasc Moorepark.
  • Arunima Gulati (PhD 2019), co-supervised with Tim Guinee and Mark Fenelon, Teagasc Moorepark
  • Mark Grace (PhD 2020)
  • Lucy Moran (MSc 2018)
  • Matthew Jacobs (postdoc 2017-2018)
  • Judith Mittag (postdoc 2017-2018)
  • Stephanie Ortiz Collazos (postdoc 2019)




  • Biophysics
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Protein and Peptide Self-Assembly
  • Protein Phase Diagrams
  • Protein Aggregation.

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