Natasha Rhys

Dr. Natasha Rhys

King’s Prize Fellow

Member of Biological Physics & Soft Matter Group as well as the Theory & Simulation of Condensed Matter Group

e-mail: natasha.rhys@kcl.ac.uk          

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Biography

Natasha completed a BSc (Hons) in Physics at Imperial College London and an MSc in Structural Biology and Biophysics at the University of Manchester. During her time at Manchester, she completed 2 research projects. Supervised by Prof. Clair Baldock and Prof. John Helliwell, she investigated the structure of the α-crustacyanin protein complex responsible for the colouration of lobster shell. She also studied the chaotropic unfolding of proteins with Raman spectroscopy, under the supervision of Prof. Ewan Blanch. In 2011, Natasha started her PhD in the group of Prof. Lorna Dougan at the University of Leeds, closely collaborating throughout with Dr Alan Soper, FRS. For her research, she explored of properties of natural and synthetic biological molecules in aqueous solution using neutron diffraction and computational modelling. Furthermore, she was actively involved with other projects, including the study of solutions related to the origins of life. 

In 2015, Natasha became a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford with Dr. Sylvia McLain. Here, she used neutron diffraction, computational modelling, NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical methods to investigate the solution structure of an increasing range of biological systems, including lipids, peptides, as well as pharmaceutical compounds and solvents. During this period, she also collaborated with Prof. Maria Antonietta RicciProf. Fabio Bruni and Dr Silvia Imberti exploring the hydration of sugars and its correlation to the sweet taste. In 2018, Natasha started in the Lorenz group to continue her research in biomolecular solvation and exploit a wider range of classical simulation methods to study the hydration of phospholipid headgroups. 

In 2019, Natasha was awarded a King’s Prize Fellowship by the university to pursue her own independent research programme. 

 

Supervision

Primary and sole supervisor to 2 MSc Physics students

Second supervisor to Hrachya Ishkhanyan

Primary and sole supervisor to a Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholar

 

Professional Activities

2022: Guest Editor for Emerging Topics in Life Sciences

2022: Co-organiser of the Physics of Life ‘Physics of Water in Biology’ Workshop

2021: Co-organiser of the NSCIS21 Neutron Scattering in Colloid and Interface Science Symposium

2020-present: Committee Member of the Institute of Physics Liquids and Complex Fluids Group

2020-present: Committee Member of the IOP/RSC Neutron Scattering Group

2018-present: Committee Member of the Biochemical Society’s Early Career Advisory Panel

2014: Co-chair of the 2014 Gordon Research Seminar on Water & Aqueous Solutions

2013-2014: Early Career Representative of the Institute of Physics Liquids and Complex Fluids Group

 

Publications

‘Role of Water in Sucrose, Lactose and Sucralose Taste: The Sweeter, The Wetter?‘, Silvia Imberti, Sylvia E. McLain, Natasha H. Rhys, Fabio Bruni, Maria Antonietta Ricci, ACS Omega (2019) 4 (27), 22392-22398.

On the hydration of DOPE in solution‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Imogen B. Duffy, Christopher L. Sowden, Christian D. Lorenz & Sylvia E. McLain, The Journal of Chemical Physics (2019) 150, 115104. [*]

Temperature-Dependent Segregation in Alcohol-Water Binary Mixtures is Driven by Water Clustering‘, Samuel Lenton, Natasha H. Rhys, James J. Towey, Alan K. Soper & Lorna Dougan, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2018) 122 (32), 7884-7894.

Trehalose in Water Revisited‘, Alan K. Soper, Maria Antonietta Ricci, Fabio Bruni, Natasha H. Rhys & Sylvia E. McLain, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2018) 122 (29), 7365-7374.

Hydrogen bond length as a key to understanding sweetness‘, Fabio Bruni, Camilla Di Mino, Silvia Imberti, Sylvia E. McLain, Natasha H. Rhys & Maria Antonietta Ricci, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (2018) 9 (13), 3667-3672.

On the solvation of the phosphocholine headgroup in an aqueous propylene glycol solution‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Mohamed Ali Al-Badri, Robert M. Ziolek, Richard J. Gillams, Louise E. Collins, M. Jayne Lawrence*, Christian D. Lorenz & Sylvia E. McLain, The Journal of Chemical Physics (2018) 148, 1351032.

Highly compressed water structure in a perchlorate aqueous solution‘, Samuel Lenton, Natasha H. Rhys, James J. Towey, Alan K. Soper & Lorna Dougan, Nature Communications (2017) 8, 919.

Glucose and Mannose: A link between hydration and sweetness‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Fabio Bruni, Silvia Imberti, Sylvia E. McLain & Maria Antonietta Ricci, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2016) 121 (33), 771-776.

On the structure of an aqueous propylene glycol solution‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Richard J. Gillams, Louise E. Collins, Samantha K. Callear, M. Jayne Lawrence & Sylvia E. McLain, The Journal of Chemical Physics (2016) 145, 224504.

Structural evidence for solvent-stabilisation by aspartic acid as a mechanism for halophilic protein stability in high salt concentrations‘, Samuel Lenton, Danielle L. Walsh, Natasha H. Rhys, Alan K. Soper & Lorna Dougan, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (2016) 18, 18054-18062.

Hydrophilic Association in a Dilute Glutamine Solution Persists Independent of Increasing Temperature‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Alan K. Soper & Lorna Dougan, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2015) 119 (51), 15644-14651.

The emerging role of hydrogen bond interactions in polyglutamine structure‘, Natasha H. Rhys & Lorna Dougan, Soft Matter (2013) 9, 2359-2364.

The hydrogen-bonding ability of the amino acid glutamine revealed by neutron diffraction experiments‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Alan K. Soper & Lorna Dougan, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2012) 116 (45), 13308-13309.

Deriving the ultrastructure of α-crustacyanin using lower resolution structural and biophysical methods‘, Natasha H. Rhys, Ming-Chuan Wang, Thomas A. Jowitt, John R. Helliwell, J. Günter Grossman & Clair Baldock, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2011) 18 (1), 79-83.

 

‡ This work features warmly in the book ‘Skills for a Scientific Life‘ by John R. Helliwell (2017) CRC Press, chapter 12, page 56.

† Joint First Authors

* Corresponding Author on paper