School of Physics and Astronomy

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Dr Neil H Thomson

Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Group

Contact details

Room: 8.50d
Tel: +44 (0)113 3437289
Email: n.h.thomson @ leeds.ac.uk

Keywords

Biological Physics
Bionanotechnology
Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
Scanning probe microscopy (SPM)
DNA Nanostructures and DNA Origami
Nanoparticles
Microbubbles
Collagen
Biomineralisation
Bacteria

Research interests

Our group concentrates on the development and application of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study the structure and dynamics of biological systems, from single molecules to whole cells. AFM is a versatile technique that we use to image, measure forces and manipulate material, down to the nanoscale. Complementary techniques in biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics and surface science are used whenever possible to enhance interpretation and understanding of the research goal. Our current areas of interest include;
- Development of dynamic atomic force microscopy (AFM)
- Deciphering molecular processes involved in DNA transcription and gene regulation
- DNA bionanotechnology and DNA origami
- Engineered therapeutic microbubbles for localised drug delivery
- Collagen and hydrogel nanomechanics
- Surface physical chemistry of mica
- Wetting phenomena on complex surfaces

Useful links

MNP group web-pages
Google Scholar Citations (Thomson)
School of Dentistry webpage (Thomson)
LENNF - Leeds Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research Equipment Facility

Publications

Chammas O, Bonass WA, Thomson NH Effect of heparin and heparan sulphate on open promoter complex formation for a simple tandem gene model using ex situ atomic force microscopy Methods 120 91-102, 2017
DOI:10.1016/j.ymeth.2017.04.010
View abstract

Costa L, Li-Destri G, Pontoni D, Konovalov O, Thomson NH Liquid-Liquid Interfacial Imaging Using Atomic Force Microscopy Advanced Materials Interfaces -, 2017
DOI:10.1002/admi.201700203
View abstract

Costa L, Li-Destri G, Thomson NH, Konovalov O, Pontoni D Real Space Imaging of Nanoparticle Assembly at Liquid-Liquid Interfaces with Nanoscale Resolution. Nano Letters 16 5463-5468, 2016
DOI:10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01877
View abstract

Christenson HK, Thomson NH The nature of the air-cleaved mica surface Surface Science Reports 71 367-390, 2016
DOI:10.1016/j.surfrep.2016.03.001

Tronci G, Grant CA, Thomson NH, Russell SJ, Wood DJ Influence of 4-vinylbenzylation on the rheological and swelling properties of photo activated collagen hydrogels MRS Advances 1 533-538, 2016
DOI:10.1557/adv.2015.11
View abstract

Tronci G, Grant CA, Thomson NH, Russell SJ, Wood DJ Multi-scale mechanical characterization of highly swollen photo-activated collagen hydrogels Journal of the Royal Society Interface 12 -, 2015
DOI:10.1098/rsif.2014.1079

Thomson NH, Santos S, Mitchenall LA, Stuchinskaya T, Taylor JA, Maxwell A DNA G-segment bending is not the sole determinant of topology simplification by type II DNA topoisomerases Scientific Reports 4 -, 2014
DOI:10.1038/srep06158
View abstract

Abou-Saleh RH, Swain M, Evans SD, Thomson NH Poly(ethylene glycol) lipid-shelled microbubbles: abundance, stability, and mechanical properties Langmuir 30 5557-5563, 2014
DOI:10.1021/la404804u
View abstract

Tang T-C, Amadei CA, Thomson NH, Chiesa M Ion exchange and DNA molecular dip sticks: studying the nanoscale surface wetting of muscovite mica Journal of Physical Chemistry C 118 4695-4701, 2014
DOI:10.1021/jp411125n
View abstract

Billingsley DJ, Lee AJ, Johansson NAB, Walton A, Stanger L, Crampton N, Bonass WA, Thomson NH Patchiness of ion-exchanged mica revealed by DNA binding dynamics at short length scales Nanotechnology 25 -, 2014
DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/25/2/025704
View abstract

Gooch A, Murphy NS, Thomson NH, Wilson AJ Side-chain supramolecular polymers employing conformer independent triple hydrogen bonding arrays Macromolecules 46 9634-9641, 2013
DOI:10.1021/ma402069b
View abstract

Santos S, Barcons V, Christenson HK, Billingsley DJ, Bonass WA, Font J, Thomson NH Stability, resolution, and ultra-low wear amplitude modulation atomic force microscopy of DNA: Small amplitude small set-point imaging Applied Physics Letters 103 -, 2013
DOI:10.1063/1.4817906
View abstract

Chammas O, Billingsley DJ, Bonass WA, Thomson NH Single-stranded DNA loops as fiducial markers for exploring DNA-protein interactions in single molecule imaging. Methods 60 122-130, 2013
DOI:10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.03.002
View abstract

Abou-Saleh RH, Peyman SA, Critchley K, Evans SD, Thomson NH Nanomechanics of lipid encapsulated microbubbles with functional coatings. Langmuir 29 4096-4103, 2013
DOI:10.1021/la304093t
View abstract

Thomson NH, Billingsley DJ, Chammas O, Crampton N, Kirkham J, Bonass WA Multiple RNA Polymerase Transactions on Single DNA Templates, 2013

Santos S, Billingsley D, Thomson N Atomic force microscopy imaging of macromolecular complexes Methods in Molecular Biology 950 315-341, 2013
DOI:10.1007/978-1-62703-137-0_18
View abstract

Chiesa M, Gadelrab KR, Verdaguer A, Segura JJ, Barcons V, Thomson NH, Phillips MA, Stefancich M, Santos S Energy dissipation in the presence of sub-harmonic excitation in dynamic atomic force microscopy EPL 99 -, 2012
DOI:10.1209/0295-5075/99/56002
View abstract

Chiesa M, Gadelrab K, Stefancich M, Armstrong P, Li G, Souier T, Thomson NH, Barcons V, Font J, Verdaguer A, Phillips MA, Santos S Investigation of nanoscale interactions by means of subharmonic excitation Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 3 2125-2129, 2012
DOI:10.1021/jz300576p
View abstract

Billingsley DJ, Crampton N, Kirkham J, Thomson NH, Bonass WA Single-stranded loops as end-label polarity markers for double-stranded linear DNA templates in atomic force microscopy. Nucleic Acids Res 40 e99-, 2012
DOI:10.1093/nar/gks276
View abstract

Santos S, Guang L, Souier T, Gadelrab K, Chiesa M, Thomson NH A method to provide rapid in situ determination of tip radius in dynamic atomic force microscopy. Rev Sci Instrum 83 043707-, 2012
DOI:10.1063/1.4704376
View abstract

Santos S, Stefancich M, Hernandez H, Chiesa M, Thomson NH Hydrophilicity of a single DNA molecule Journal of Physical Chemistry C 116 2807-2818, 2012
DOI:10.1021/jp211326c
View abstract

Billingsley DJ, Bonass WA, Crampton N, Kirkham J, Thomson NH Single-molecule studies of DNA transcription using atomic force microscopy. Phys Biol 9 021001-, 2012
DOI:10.1088/1478-3975/9/2/021001
View abstract

Font J, Santos S, Barcons V, Thomson NH, Verdaguer A, Chiesa M Spatial horizons in amplitude and frequency modulation atomic force microscopy NANOSCALE 4 2463-2469, 2012
DOI:10.1039/c2nr12012g

Grant CA, Phillips MA, Thomson NH Dynamic mechanical analysis of collagen fibrils at the nanoscale JOURNAL OF THE MECHANICAL BEHAVIOR OF BIOMEDICAL MATERIALS 5 165-170, 2012
DOI:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2011.08.020

Santos S, Verdaguer A, Souier T, Thomson NH, Chiesa M Measuring the true height of water films on surfaces NANOTECHNOLOGY 22 -, 2011
DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/22/46/465705

Santos S, Barcons V, Verdaguer A, Font J, Thomson NH, Chiesa M How localized are energy dissipation processes in nanoscale interactions? NANOTECHNOLOGY 22 -, 2011
DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/22/34/345401

Grant CA, Thomson NH, Savage MD, Woon HW, Greig D Surface characterisation and biomechanical analysis of the sclera by atomic force microscopy. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater 4 535-540, 2011
DOI:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2010.12.011
View abstract

Teoh CL, Pham CLL, Todorova N, Hung A, Lincoln CN, Lees E, Lam YH, Binger KJ, Thomson NH, Radford SE, Smith TA, Muller SA, Engel A, Griffin MDW, Yarovsky I, Gooley PR, Howlett GJ A Structural Model for Apolipoprotein C-II Amyloid Fibrils: Experimental Characterization and Molecular Dynamics Simulations J MOL BIOL 405 1246-1266, 2011
DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2010.12.006

Santos S, Thomson NH Energy dissipation in a dynamic nanoscale contact APPL PHYS LETT 98 -, 2011
DOI:10.1063/1.3532097

Santos S, Thomson NH High resolution imaging of immunoglobulin G antibodies and other biomolecules using amplitude modulation atomic force microscopy in air. Methods Mol Biol 736 61-79, 2011
DOI:10.1007/978-1-61779-105-5_5
View abstract

Santos S, Barcons V, Christenson HK, Font J, Thomson NH The intrinsic resolution limit in the atomic force microscope: implications for heights of nano-scale features. PLoS One 6 e23821-, 2011
DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0023821
View abstract

Billingsley DJ, Kirkham J, Bonass WA, Thomson NH Atomic force microscopy of DNA at high humidity: irreversible conformational switching of supercoiled molecules. Phys Chem Chem Phys 12 14727-14734, 2010
DOI:10.1039/c0cp01347a
View abstract

Santos S, Barcons V, Font J, Thomson NH Cantilever dynamics in amplitude modulation AFM: continuous and discontinuous transitions J PHYS D APPL PHYS 43 -, 2010
DOI:10.1088/0022-3727/43/27/275401

Santos S, Barcons V, Font J, Thomson NH Bi-stability of amplitude modulation AFM in air: deterministic and stochastic outcomes for imaging biomolecular systems. Nanotechnology 21 225710-, 2010
DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/21/22/225710
View abstract

Kurk T, Adams DG, Connell SD, Thomson NH Three-channel false colour AFM images for improved interpretation of complex surfaces: a study of filamentous cyanobacteria. Ultramicroscopy 110 718-722, 2010
DOI:10.1016/j.ultramic.2010.02.038
View abstract

Turner RD, Thomson NH, Kirkham J, Devine D Improvement of the pore trapping method to immobilize vital coccoid bacteria for high-resolution AFM: a study of Staphylococcus aureus J MICROSC-OXFORD 238 102-110, 2010
DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2818.2009.03333.x

Machon C, Lynch G, Thomson N, Scott D, Thomas C, Soultanas P RepD-mediated recruitment of PcrA helicase at the Staphylococcus aureus pC221 plasmid replication origin, oriD. Nucleic Acids Research 38 1874-1888, 2010
DOI:10.1093/nar/gkp1153
View abstract

Grant CA, Brockwell DJ, Radford SE, Thomson NH Tuning the elastic modulus of hydrated collagen fibrils. Biophys J 97 2985-2992, 2009
DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2009.09.010
View abstract

Thomson N, Tatsuyama-Kurk T, Whalley D, Connell S, Adams D Cell wall ultrastructure and gliding motility in Oscillatoria, 2009

Turner RD, Kirkham J, Devine D, Thomson NH Second harmonic atomic force microscopy of living Staphylococcus aureus bacteria APPL PHYS LETT 94 -, 2009
DOI:10.1063/1.3073825

Grant CA, Brockwell DJ, Radford SE, Thomson NH Effects of hydration on the mechanical response of individual collagen fibrils Applied Physics Letters 92 pp.233902-, 2008

Thomson NH, Crampton N, Bonass WA, Kirkham J, Rivetti C RNA polymerase collisions in the atomic force microscope, 2007

Thomson NH Atomic Force Microscopy of DNA Structure and Interactions APPLIED SCANNING PROBE METHODS VI: CHARACTERIZATION 127-164, 2007
DOI:10.1007/978-3-540-37319-3_5

Crampton N, Bonass WA, Kirkham J, Rivetti C, Thomson NH Collision events between RNA polymerases in convergent transcription studied by atomic force microscopy Nucleic Acids Research 34 pp.5416–5425-, 2006
DOI:10.1093/nar/gkl668
View abstract

Crampton N, Bonass WA, Kirkham J, Thomson NH Studying silane mobility on hydrated mica using ambient AFM. Ultramicroscopy 106 765-770, 2006
DOI:10.1016/j.ultramic.2005.12.012
View abstract

Crampton N, Thomson NH, Kirkham J, Gibson CW, Bonass WA Imaging RNA polymerase–amelogenin gene complexes with single molecule resolution using atomic force microscopy European Journal of Oral Sciences 114 133-138, 2006
DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0722.2006.00274.x
View abstract

Gosal WS, Myers SL, Radford SE, Thomson NH Amyloid Under the Atomic Force Microscope Protein and Peptide Letters 13 261-270, 2006
DOI:10.2174/092986606775338498

Myers SL, Thomson NH, Radford SE, Ashcroft AE Investigating the structural properties of amyloid-like fibrils formed in vitro from Beta2-microglobulin using limited proteolysis and electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 20 1628-1636, 2006

Gosal WS, Morten IJ, Hewitt EW, Smith DA, Thomson NH, Radford SE Competing pathways determine fibril morphology in the self-assembly of beta2-microglobulin into amyloid. J Mol Biol 351 850-864, 2005
DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2005.06.040
View abstract

Crampton N, Bonass WA, Kirkham J, Thomson NH Formation of Aminosilane-Functionalized Mica for Atomic Force Microscopy Imaging of DNA Langmuir 21 7884-7891, 2005
DOI:10.1021/la050972q
View abstract

Thomson NH Imaging the substructure of antibodies with tapping-mode AFM in air: the importance of a water layer on mica. J Microsc 217 193-199, 2005
DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2818.2005.01399.x
View abstract

Whitehouse C, Fang J, Aggeli A, Bell M, Brydson R, Fishwick CWG, Henderson JR, Knobler CM, Owens RW, Thomson NH, Smith DA, Boden N Adsorption and Self-Assembly of Peptides on Mica Substrates Angewandte Chemie - International Edition 44 1965-1968, 2005

Thomson NH The substructure of immunoglobulin G resolved to 25 kDa using amplitude modulation AFM in air Ultramicroscopy 105 103-110, 2005
DOI:10.1016/j.ultramic.2005.06.024
View abstract

Gibson C, Thomson NH, Abrams WR, Kirkham J Nested genes: Biological implications and use of AFM for analysis Gene 350 15-23, 2005
DOI:10.1016/j.gene.2004.12.045

Heddle JG, Mitelheiser S, Maxwell A, Thomson NH Nucleotide binding to DNA gyrase causes loss of DNA wrap J MOL BIOL 337 597-610, 2004
DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2004.01.049

Hatters DM, MacRaild CA, Daniels R, Gosal WS, Thomson NH, Jones JA, Davis JJ, MacPhee CE, Dobson CM, Howlett GJ The circularization of amyloid fibrils formed by apolipoprotein C-II BIOPHYS J 85 3979-3990, 2003

Thomson NH, Kasas S, Riederer BM, Catsicas S, Dietler G, Kulik AJ, Forró L Large fluctuations in the disassembly rate of microtubules revealed by atomic force microscopy. Ultramicroscopy 97 239-247, 2003
DOI:10.1016/S0304-3991(03)00048-2
View abstract

Kad NM, Myers SL, Smith DP, Smith DAM, Radford SE, Thomson NH Hierarchical Assembly ofβ2-Microglobulin Amyloid In Vitro Revealed by Atomic Force Microscopy Journal of Molecular Biology 330 785-797, 2003
DOI:10.1016/S0022-2836(03)00583-7
View abstract

Bousset L, Thomson NH, Radford SE, Melki R The yeast prion Ure2p retains its nativeá-helical conformation upon assembly into protein fibrils in vitro The EMBO Journal 21 2903-2911, 2002
DOI:10.1093/emboj/cdf303
View abstract

Kad NM, Thomson NH, Smith DP, Smith DA, Radford SE β2-microglobulin and its deamidated variant, N17D form amyloid fibrils with a range of morphologies in vitro Journal of Molecular Biology 313 559-571, 2001
DOI:10.1006/jmbi.2001.5071

Almqvist N, Delamo Y, Smith BL, Thomson NH, Bartholdson A, Lal R, Brzezinski M, Hansma PK Micromechanical and structural properties of a pennate diatom investigated by atomic force microscopy J MICROSC-OXFORD 202 518-532, 2001

Kad NM, Thomson NH, Smith DP, Smith DA, Radford SE beta(2)-microglobulin and its deamidated variant, N17D form amyloid fibrils with a range of morphologies in vitro Journal of Molecular Biology 313 559-571, 2001
DOI:10.1006/jmbi.2001.5071

Guthold M, Zhu XS, Rivetti C, Yang GL, Thomson NH, Kasas S, Hansma HG, Smith B, Hansma PK, Bustamante C Direct observation of one-dimensional diffusion and transcription by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase Biophysical Journal 77 2284-2294, 1999

Shewry PR, Miles MJ, Thomson NH, Tatham AS Scanning probe microscopes - applications in cereal science Cereal Chemistry 74 193-199, 1997

Argaman M, Golan R, Thomson NH, Hansma HG Phase imaging of moving DNA molecules and DNA molecules replicated in the atomic force microscope Nucleic Acids Research 25 4379-4384, 1997

Kasas S, Thomson NH, Smith BL, Hansma PK, Miklossy J, Hansma HG Biological applications of the AFM : From single molecules to organs International Journal of Imaging Systems and Technology 8 151-161, 1997

Kasas S, Thomson NH, Smith BL, Hansma HG, Zhu XS, Guthold M, Bustamante C, Kool ET, Kashlev M, Hansma PK Escherichia coli RNA polymerase activity observed using atomic force microscopy ChemBioChem 36 461-468, 1997

Walters DA, Cleveland JP, Thomson NH, Hansma PK, Wendman MA, Gurley G, Elings V Short cantilevers for atomic force microscopy Review of Scientific Instruments 67 3583-3590, 1996

Thomson NH, Fritz M, Radmacher M, Cleveland JP, Schmidt CF, Hansma PK Protein tracking and detection of protein motion using atomic force microscopy Biophysical Journal 70 2421-2431, 1996

Thomson NH, Kasas S, Smith BL, Hansma HG, Hansma PK Reversible binding of DNA to mica for AFM imaging Langmuir 12 5905-5908, 1996