Oxford University, Structural Bioinformatics & Computational Biochemistry Unit
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Jean Hélie

Structural Bioinformatics and Computational Biochemistry Unit
Dept. of Biochemistry
University of Oxford
South Parks Road

Telephone: 01865 613304
Fax: 01865 613238

e-mail: jean.helie@bioch.ox.ac.uk

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Multi-scale modeling of the interactions of cell-penetrating peptides with membranes


I studied Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in France and graduated from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon in 2006. I then moved to California where I worked a year in nuclear chemistry for the Electric Power Research Institute.

In October 2007 I moved to the UK where I read for an MPhil in Chemical Engineering at Cambridge. After graduating in 2008, I held a corporate position at L'Oréal for two years in Paris before moving back to the UK in 2010 for the Oxford Industrial Doctoral Centre in Systems Approaches to Biological Science (SABS-IDC).

I am now doing my DPhil with Professor Mark Sansom in the Structural Bioinformatics and Computational Biochemistry group but I am also affiliated to the Oxford Protein Informatics Group and have industrial supervisors based in Roche Nutley (NJ, USA) offices.

I am funded by the EPSRC and Hoffman-La Roche.


I study the interactions of cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) with model membranes. The ability of CPP to translocate cell membranes makes them particularly interesting for therapeutic applications as they could help to improve delivery and allow new classes of molecules to be considered as therapeutic agents. For this reason CPP have been extensively studied since their discovery in the early 1990s but cellular uptake mechanims and cytotoxicity arising from membrane pertubation remain poorly understood.

My research will use coarse-grained MD simulations to intially investigate different sets of peptides and all-atoms MD simulations for in-depth investigations of a few selected candidates. Computational studies will be complemented by experimental data as Roche USA is sponsoring the project through the SABS-IDC programme and will provide confocal microscopy imaging assays of the peptides studied.


Last updated 21 Nov 2011