Prof Neil Hunt


Personal statement

Neil is a Reader working in the Biomolecular and Chemical Physics group, part of the Nanoscience division. Research in Neil’s Multidimensional Spectroscopy Group concentrates on applying ultrafast two dimensional infrared (2D-IR) spectroscopy to the study of biological systems. Recently, he obtained a high profile ERC Starting Investigator Grant to extend this technique to allow the observation of real-time changes in molecular structure during reactions.  Neil also collaborates closely with the Central Laser Facility at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on developing 2D-IR and transient 2D-IR methods for studying biological systems.


Disruption of key NADH-binding pocket residues of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis InhA affects DD-CoA binding ability
Shaw Daniel J., Robb Kirsty, Vetter Beatrice V., Tong Madeline, Molle Virginie, Hunt Neil T., Hoskisson Paul A.
Scientific Reports Vol 7, (2017)
Ultrafast 2D-IR and optical Kerr effect spectroscopy reveal the impact of duplex melting on the structural dynamics of DNA
Hithell Gordon, González-Jiménez Mario, Greetham Gregory M., Donaldson Paul M., Towrie Michael, Parker Anthony W., Burley Glenn A., Wynne Klaas, Hunt Neil
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, (2017)
2D-IR spectroscopy shows that optimised DNA minor groove binding of Hoechst33258 follows an induced fit model
Ramakers Lennart A. I., Hithell Gordon, May John J., Greetham Gregory M., Donaldson Paul M., Towrie Michael, Parker Anthony W., Burley Glenn, Hunt Neil
Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2017)
Encapsulating Subsite analogues of the [FeFe]-hydrogenases in micelles enables direct water interactions
Fritzsch Robby, Brady Owen, Adair Elaine, Wright Joseph A., Pickett Christopher J., Hunt Neil
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters Vol 7, pp. 2838-2843, (2016)
Combining random forest and 2D correlation analysis to identify serum spectral signatures for neuro-oncology
Smith Benjamin Richard, Ashton Katherine M., Brodbelt Andrew, Dawson Timothy, Jenkinson Michael D., Hunt Neil T., Palmer David S., Baker Matthew J.
Analyst Vol 141, pp. 3668-3678, (2016)
Long-range vibrational dynamics are directed by Watson-Crick base-pairing in duplex DNA
Hithell Gordon, Shaw Daniel J., Donaldson Paul M., Greetham Gregory M., Towrie Michael, Burley Glenn A., Parker Anthony W., Hunt Neil T.
Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2016)

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Professional activities

Austin Symposium on Molecular Structure and Dynamics, Dallas, USA,
Invited speaker
Pacifichem Congress, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Invited speaker
DfG Roundtable Meeting on Photoreceptors, Munich, Germany
Invited speaker
Advances in Structure and Dynamics, Bangalore, India
Invited speaker
Laserlab Europe, Lasers for Life Meeting, London
Invited speaker
CCP9 Workshop "Electronic excitations and dynamics in macromolecules and extended systems"
Invited speaker

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Impact Acceleration Account - University Of Strathclyde 2012 / R120526-217
Hunt, Neil (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2012 - 31-Mar-2017
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Hume, Samantha
Hunt, Neil (Principal Investigator) Baker, Matthew (Co-investigator) Hume, Samantha (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Apr-2020
Doctoral Training Grant 2006 | Craigon, Alison
Hunt, Neil (Principal Investigator) Hourahine, Benjamin (Co-investigator) Craigon, Alison (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2006 - 27-Oct-2016
BBSRC Doctoral Training Grant (DTG) | Bellota-Anton, Cesar
Tucker, Nicholas (Principal Investigator) Hunt, Neil (Co-investigator) Bellota-Anton, Cesar (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Dec-2011 - 01-Dec-2014
BBSRC Doctoral Training Grant (DTG) | Robb, Kirsty
Hoskisson, Paul (Principal Investigator) Hunt, Neil (Co-investigator) Robb, Kirsty (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2011 - 16-Feb-2016
EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant - DTA, University of Strathclyde | Ramakers, Lennart
Hunt, Neil (Principal Investigator) Burley, Glenn (Co-investigator) Ramakers, Lennart (Research Co-investigator)
The binding of proteins and small molecules to double-stranded (ds)-DNA is fundamental to biological function, but our comprehension of the underlying molecular physics of these interactions remains incomplete. Here, we focus on minor groove binding compounds (MGBs). These are small organic molecules that demonstrate sequence specificity favouring AT-rich tracts of dsDNA and which have potential applications as next-generation antibiotics. We utilize two dimensional infrared spectroscopy (2D-IR) to investigate MGB-DNA complexes that allow us to explore the interactions and dynamics of binding by exploiting azide-containing molecular probes based on the Hoechst DNA-binding dye family with the aim of providing bond-level spatial resolution within the minor groove on timescales approaching 100 fs. By characterizing the response of archetypical small organic molecules containing an azide moiety to their local environment and using this information with the insights gained by studying the vibrations of the DNA bases, these interactions can be explored.
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Apr-2017

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