Prof. Cait MacPhee

Personal Chair of Biological Physics
Research Theme:
Condensed Matter and Photonics
Research Group:
Soft Matter, Statistical Physics and Biophysics
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)131 650 5291
School of Physics and Astronomy, James Clerk Maxwell Building, Peter Guthrie Tait Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3FD, United Kingdom

Research interests

My research interests focus on the behaviour of proteins: the molecules that are responsible for the vast majority of functions in living organisms. The controlled self-assembly of proteins into well-defined structures and functional assemblies is essential to our well-being, however occasionally protein self-assembly takes place inappropriately. When this happens in the body it typically causes disease, and familial diseases as well as diseases of ageing (such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, cataract and type II diabetes) are all recognised to be the result of improper protein self-assembly. Protein self-assembly can also cause havoc in industrial processes including the production of biopharmaceuticals (e.g. insulin). When this occurs, the pharmaceutical is often lost as an irretrievably tangled mass of gelled protein. All is not lost, however: the self-assembly of proteins also underpins the texture of foodstuffs including egg, meat and milk products. It is understanding this process of self-assembly - to prevent or reverse disease, or to drive the development of new materials and foodstuffs - that forms the focus of my research efforts.


I teach Physics 1A Friday afternoon workshops and Research Methods in Junior Honours. I am also a Personal Tutor.

Research outputs

  1. Initial Steps of Amyloidogenic Peptide Assembly Revealed by Cold-Ion Spectroscopy DOI
    Jakub Ujma, Vladimir Kopysov, Natalia S. Nagornova, Lukasz G. Migas, Maria Giovanna Lizio, Ewan W. Blanch, Cait MacPhee, Oleg V. Boyarkin and Perdita E. Barran, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 57, 1 , p. 213-217 (2018)
  2. BslA-stabilized emulsion droplets with designed microstructure DOI
    Keith M. Bromley and Cait E. MacPhee, Interface Focus, 7, 4 (2017)
  3. Natural variations in the biofilm-associated protein BslA from the genus Bacillus DOI
    Ryan J. Morris, Marieke Schor, Rachel M.C. Gillespie, Ana Sofia Ferreira, Lucia Baldauf, Chris Earl, Adam Ostrowski, Laura Hobley, Keith M. Bromley, Tetyana Sukhodub et al., Scientific Reports, 7, 1 (2017)
  4. Bifunctionality of a biofilm matrix protein controlled by redox state DOI
    Sofia Arnaouteli, Ana Sofia Ferreira, Marieke Schor, Ryan J. Morris, Keith M. Bromley, Jeanyoung Jo, Krista L. Cortez, Tetyana Sukhodub, Alan R. Prescott, Lars E.P. Dietrich et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 30 (2017)
  5. Adsorption of the natural protein surfactant Rsn-2 onto liquid interfaces DOI
    Giovanni B Brandani, Steven J Vance, Marieke Schor, Alan Cooper, Malcolm W Kennedy, Brian O Smith, Cait E MacPhee and David L Cheung, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 19, 12 , p. 8584-8594 (2017)
  6. Hungry for solutions DOI
    Cait MacPhee, Physics world, 29, p. 26-29 (2016)
  7. The Conformation of Interfacially Adsorbed Ranaspumin-2 Is an Arrested State on the Unfolding Pathway DOI
    Ryan J Morris, Giovanni B Brandani, Vibhuti Desai, Brian O Smith, Marieke Schor and Cait E MacPhee, Biophysical Journal, 111, 4 , p. 732-742 (2016)
  8. A phenomenological description of BslA assemblies across multiple length scales DOI
    Ryan J Morris, Keith M Bromley, Nicola Stanley-Wall and Cait E MacPhee, Philosophical Transactions A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 374, 2072 (2016)
  9. Just in case it rains DOI
    Sofia Arnaouteli, Cait E MacPhee and Nicola R Stanley-Wall, Current Opinion in Microbiology, 34, p. 7-12 (2016)
  10. The Diverse Structures and Functions of Surfactant Proteins DOI
    Marieke Schor, Jack L Reid, Cait E MacPhee and Nicola R Stanley-Wall, Trends in biochemical sciences, 41, 7 , p. 610-620 (2016)
Last updated: 19 Feb 2018 at 21:11