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Academic Staff

Dr Dylan Owen


Telephone: 0207 848 7448


Office: S6.27

Office Hours

Research Group: Biological Physics & Soft Matter Group 


Dylan received an MSci in Physics in 2004, an MRes in Protein and Membrane Chemical Biology in 2005 and a PhD in biophysics and biomedical optics in 2008 all from Imperial College London. His PhD was jointly supervised by Prof. Paul French and Prof. Tony Magee in the Department of Physics and the National Heart and Lung Institute respectively where he developed new fluorescence microscopy methods to study cell membranes. In 2008 he moved to the Centre for Vascular Research at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia to work in the group of Prof. Katharina Gaus. He applied super-resolution fluorescence microscopy methods to study immune cell interactions. He moved to King’s College London in January 2013 as part of a joint appointment between the Department of Physics and the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics.


Dylan’s research interests are in the development and application of cutting-edge fluorescence microscopy techniques and their applications to cell biology, in particular the study of cell membranes and T cells. The microscope techniques particularly include super-resolution fluorescence imaging based on single-molecule detection, structured illumination as well as associated data analysis. He also works with environmentally-sensitive fluorescent probes with spectrally-resolved detection as well as fluorescence lifetime imaging. These are applied to cell biology applications. He is particularly interested in the structure and function of the cell membrane and how this regulates cellular signalling events. An especially important application of this is the study of the T cell immunological synapse between the immune cell and its target cell during an immune response.

Keywords: Fluorescence microscopy, T cells, super-resolution imaging, lipid bilayers, cell membranes. 

Selected Publications

Conformational states of the kinase Lck regulate clustering in early T cell signaling. J. Rossy, D.M. Owen, D.J. Williamson, Z. Yang and K. Gaus. Nature Immunology, 14 82-89 (2013).

Sub-resolution lipid domains exist in the plasma membrane and regulate protein diffusion and distribution. D.M. Owen, D.J. Williamson, A. Magenau and K. Gaus. Nature Communications 3, 1256 (2012).

Lipid and lyso-lipid effects on the mechanosensitivity of MscL and MscS co-reconstituted into liposomes. T. Nomura, C.G. Cranfield, E. Deplazes, D.M. Owen, A. Macmillan, A.R. Battle, M. Sokabe and B. Martinac. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 109(22), 8770-8775 (2012).

Imaging membrane order using Laurdan and di-4-ANEPPDHQ in live cells and whole organisms. D.M. Owen, C. Rentero, A. Abu-Siniyeh, A. Magenau and K. Gaus. Nature Protocols 7(1), 24-35 (2012).

Pre-existing LAT clusters do not participate in early T cell signaling events. D.J. Williamson*, D.M. Owen*, J. Rossy*, A. Magenau, M. Wehrmann, J.J. Gooding and K. Gaus. Nature Immunology 12(7), 655-662 (2011). *Equal first author

Primary human CD4+ T cells have diverse levels of membrane lipid order that correlate with their function. L. Miguel, D.M. Owen, C. Leibig, C. Lim, J. Evans, A.I. Magee and E.C. Jury. Journal of Immunology 186(6), 3505-3516 (2011).

Dynamics of sub-synaptic vesicles and surface microclusters at the immunological synapse. M.A. Purbhoo, H.B. Liu, S. Oddos, D.M. Owen, M.A.A. Neil, S.V. Pageon, P.M.W. French, C.E. Rudd and D.M. Davis. Science Signaling 3(121), ra36 1-10 (2010).

Phd Vacancies

Applications are invited for research in the Experimental Biophysics & Nanotechnology group.

To apply for the Physics MPhil/PhD  please fill in an application form  Further details and guidelines can be found here.

All relevant information regarding eligibility, including academic and English language requirements, is available from the online prospectus.

For further details contact Dr Dylan Owen and or the Postgraduate Tutor Dr Cedric Weber.

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