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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 Core Member for Panel D, 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

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Research Output

Coupling Computational and Intracellular Screening and Selection Towards Co-compatible cJun and cFos Antagonists

Lathbridge, A., Michalowska, A. & Mason, J., 4 Feb 2020, In : Biochemistry. 59, 4, p. 530-540

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
17 Downloads (Pure)

Single molecule imaging reveals cFos is capable of binding to and diffusing on DNA tightropes independently of cJun

Leech, J. T., Don, N. A., Mason, J. M. & Kad, N. M., 2020, (Unpublished) In : bioRxiv.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alpha-Synuclein Structure and Parkinson's Disease – Lessons and Emerging Principles

Meade, R., Fairlie, D. P. & Mason, J., 22 Jul 2019, In : Molecular Neurodegeneration. 14, 1, p. 1-14 14 p., 29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
7 Citations (Scopus)
Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)

Excitation-energy-dependent molecular beacon detects early stage neurotoxic aβ aggregates in the presence of cortical neurons

Gulácsy, C. E., Meade, R., Catici, D. A. M., Soeller, C., Pantos, G. D., Jones, D. D., Alibhai, D., Jepson, M., Valev, V. K., Mason, J. M., Williams, R. J. & Pudney, C. R., 20 Mar 2019, In : ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 10, 3, p. 1240-1250 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
1 Citation (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


Developing Neutron and X-ray Scattering Techniques to Investigate Amyloid Fibrils

Author: Eves, B., 3 Apr 2019

Supervisor: Squires, A. (Supervisor), Mason, J. (Supervisor) & Doutch, J. (External person) (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Helical constraints and in silico library screening to develop novel antagonists of oncogenic Activator Protein-1

Author: Lathbridge, A., 19 Feb 2020

Supervisor: Van Den Elsen, J. (Supervisor), Pudney, C. (Supervisor) & Mason, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD