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Personal profile

Research interests

My research focuses on design of peptide antagonists with high affinity and specificity for inhibiting protein-protein interactions. While forces driving stability are now well understood, much less is known about designing specificity. We use a Protein-fragment Complementation Assay (PCA), which utilises semi-rational design to select antagonists of Jun and Fos peptides that interact in the oncogenic Activator Protein-1 transcriptional regulator. We have devised a Competitive and Negative Design Initiative (CANDI) technique to increase target-specificity in the PCA system by expressing potential off-targets during selection. Peptides generated have allowed us to predict coiled coil stability and specificity based only the primary sequence, and to consequently design peptides. Our screening approach is also applied to a range of other therapeutically relevant systems that include β-amyloid and α-synuclein implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, respectively.

Willing to supervise PhD

Ongoing projects related to the design and characterisation of peptide-based inhibitors of proteins involved in disease. 

Education/Academic qualification

Biochemistry, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bristol

Biochemistry, Bachelor of Science, University of Bristol

External positions

Alzheimer's Research UK Grant Review Board Member, Alzheimer's Research UK

Jul 2016Jun 2022

BBSRC Pool of Experts, BBSRC


EPSRC Associate Peer Review College, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


Editorial Board: Future Medicinal Chemistry

2011 → …

Editorial Board: PLOS One

2010 → …


  • peptide
  • protein
  • protein folding
  • amyloid
  • protein misfolding
  • library screening
  • Alzheimer's
  • Cancer
  • peptide mimetics
  • protein-protein interactions

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Amyloid Medicine & Life Sciences
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Protein Folding Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2008 2022

Research Output 1999 2018

An excitation-energy-dependent molecular beacon detects early-stage neurotoxic Aβ aggregates in the presence of cortical neurons

Gulácsy, C., Meade, R., Catici, A. M. D., Soeller, C., Pantoș, G. D., Jones, D. D., Alibhai, D., Jepson, M., Valev, V., Mason, J., Williams, R. J. & Pudney, C., 16 Oct 2018, In : ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Computational Competitive and Negative Design to Derive a Specific cJun Antagonist

Lathbridge, A. & Mason, J., 26 Sep 2018, In : Biochemistry. In Press.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Peptide Library
Leucine Zippers
Computer Simulation
Cell Growth Processes
4 Citations

Computational prediction and design to create iteratively larger heterospecific coiled coil sets

Crooks, R., Lathbridge, A., Panek, A. & Mason, J., 21 Mar 2017, In : Biochemistry. 56, 11, p. 1573-1584

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Static Electricity
Synthetic Biology
2 Citations

Downsizing proto-oncogene cFos to short helix-constrained peptides that bind Jun

Baxter, D., Perry, S., Hill, T., Kok, W., Zaccai, N., Brady, L., Fairlie, D. & Mason, J., 17 Aug 2017, In : ACS Chemical Biology. 12, 8, p. 2051-2061

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Cell-Penetrating Peptides
Circular dichroism spectroscopy
Nuclear Localization Signals
1 Citations

Exploiting Overlapping Advantages of in vitro and in cellulo Selection Systems to Isolate a Novel High-affinity cJun Antagonist

Baxter, D., Ullman, C. G., Frigotto, L. & Mason, J. M., 20 Oct 2017, In : ACS Chemical Biology. 12, 10, p. 2579-2588

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Peptide Library
Cell-Free System