Skip to main content
Hannah Reed

Ms Hannah Reed

PhD Student

Research interests

  • Physics


Hannah graduated from the University of Kent in 2018 with a BSc in Biochemistry with a Professional Year. Her placement was undertaken with the Ministry of Defence, where she worked as an analyst. Her laboratory project was under the supervision of Dr Chris Toseland, optimising purification methods for full length oestrogen receptor α (ERα). Hannah continued under the supervision of Dr Toseland for her MRes, which she completed in 2019. She continued to investigate ERα by characterising the binding event with myosin VI – an interaction with potential for cancer therapeutics. She biochemically and biophysically characterised other transcription factors associated with myosin VI using methods such as circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), size exclusion chromatography with multi-angle light scattering (SEC-MALS), microscale thermophoresis and fluorescence spectroscopy.

Hannah joined the Department of Physics as a PhD student in October 2019. She is using quantitative biophysical methods to investigate mechanosensing in B cells, specifically looking at how antigen density, geometry and substrate rigidity influences B cell activation. B cells (also known as B lymphocytes) are central to the humoral response, as part of adaptive immunity. Differentiation into plasma cells or memory B cells results in antibody secretion and immunological memory, respectively. Understanding how physical factors influence B cell activation is particularly important for the rational design of new vaccines and immunotherapies.

Research Interests

  • Mechanism of B cell activation
  • Mechanosensing in immune cells 

PhD Supervisor

Principal supervisor: Dr Katelyn Spillane

Further Details

See Hannah's research profile