We are interested in how the molecular machinery of the cell assembles, functions, and evolves. To tackle this problem we use electron cryo-tomography, a technique that enables us to visualize this machinery inside living cells -- to resolutions capable of discerning individual proteins. The technique involves flash-freezing the specimen then imaging it over a range of angles in an electron microscope. The resulting images can then be used to detemine the 3-D structure of the specimen in a manner directly analogous to CT or CAT scans. Bacteria and archaea are the biological subjects of our studies: their (relative) simplicity make them ideal subjects for study of basis biological principles, yet with considerable practical application in, for example, antibiotic development or sustainable re-utilization. Our current primary focus is the bacterial flagellar motor, a nanoscale motor that spins a helical filament to act as a propellor for the bacterium. We are particularly interested in a number of curious variants of the motor that we recently identified, as these differences promise to shed light upon some basic principles of assembly, function, and evolution.
I am co-director of the Department of Life Science's MRes in Structural Molecular Biology. Please click here for more details.
Beeby lab, November 2015. L-R: Eric, Patrik, Josie, Charles, Amanda, Teige, Bonnie, Morgan, Masood
et al., 2016, Diverse high-torque bacterial flagellar motors assemble wider stator rings using a conserved protein scaffold, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:113, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:E1917-E1926
Beeby M, 2015, Motility in the epsilon-proteobacteria, Current Opinion In Microbiology, Vol:28, ISSN:1369-5274, Pages:115-121
Chaban B, Hughes HV, Beeby M, 2015, The flagellum in bacterial pathogens: For motility and a whole lot more, Seminars In Cell & Developmental Biology, Vol:46, ISSN:1084-9521, Pages:91-103
et al., 2015, Coarse-grained simulations of bacterial cell wall growth reveal that local coordination alone can be sufficient to maintain rod shape, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:112, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:E3689-E3698
et al., 2014, Escherichia coli Peptidoglycan Structure and Mechanics as Predicted by Atomic-Scale Simulations, Plos Computational Biology, Vol:10, ISSN:1553-734X