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, Bachelor of Science, University of Bristol

Biochemistry, Doctor of Philosophy, 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



  • 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.

Peptides Medicine & Life Sciences
Proteins Medicine & Life Sciences
Disulfides Medicine & Life Sciences
Amyloid Medicine & Life Sciences
Bibliography of Medicine Chemical Compounds
Amyloid beta-Peptides Medicine & Life Sciences
Protein Folding Medicine & Life Sciences
Peptide Library Medicine & Life Sciences

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Projects 2008 2021

Research Output 2000 2017

1 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
Circular Dichroism
1 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

Cell-Penetrating Peptides
Nuclear Localization Signals

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

In Vitro Techniques
Peptide Library
Cell-Free System
3 Citations

Steady-State Kinetics of α-Synuclein Ferrireductase Activity Identifies the Catalytically Competent Species

McDowall, J. S., Ntai, I., Hake, J., Whitley, P. R., Mason, J. M., Pudney, C. R. & Brown, D. R. 4 May 2017 In : Biochemistry. 56, 19, p. 2497–2505

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Neurodegenerative Diseases
Artificial Membranes
Recombinant Proteins
Methacholine Compounds
Breast Cyst