Prof. Mick Tuite

Mick Tuite is currently the Professor of Molecular Biology and Head of School for the School of Biosciences.  He began his research career in the Botany School (now Plant Sciences) at the University of Oxford where he studied the non-Mendelian genetic determinant [PSI+] under the guidance of Dr Brian Cox, the discoverer of [PSI+]. Subsequently, Mick continued biochemical studies of the [PSI+] determinant as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Cal McLaughlin at the University of California at Irvine (UCI). Here he demonstrated, using a yeast in vitro translation system, the role of a ribosome-associated factor (which we now know to be the Sup35p termination factor) in the [PSI+] phenomenon. Following a further two years as a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Alan Kingsman in the Department of Biochemistry in Oxford (where he helped develop one of the first yeast expression systems for high value biopharmaceuticals), he started his own group at Kent in 1983. Since then, he has moved his research focus from a biochemical/genetic study of the translation termination machinery in yeast, to the study of the [PSI+] prion and the role of molecular chaperones in maintaining this epigenetic state. Using a wide range of genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques his research group have made a number of significant contributions to yeast prion research and published over 200 research articles and reviews and edited six books. He is also a co-inventor of a patent that covers technology for the improved folding of recombinant proteins in yeast and other eukaryotic cells, technology that is already being exploited by industry.




Visit Mick's page on the University of Kent website

Lab members

Emma Bastow - Post Doc

Education and Employment


Emma completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry at the University of Kent in 2009 and then joined Mick Tuite's laboratory to begin a PhD with the aim of ‘developing a yeast model of the human disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)’. This project involved reconstructing mutations that caused amino acid substitutions in the superoxide dismutase enzyme (SOD1) that were associated with ALS. In 2013 Emma joined Janneke Balk’s group at the John Innes Centre (JIC) in Norwich as a postdoctoral researcher to investigate the assembly of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) proteins in germinating seeds, using the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This project focussed on analysing the Fe-S cluster assembly pathway in the cytosol of Arabidopsis thaliana. Subsequently, Emma moved to France to benefit from expertise in processing RNAseq data in Sebastien Thomine’s laboratory. These data were obtained during Emma’s studies in Norwich to determine whether iron deficiency impacted upon germination and growth. Emma returned to the Tuite laboratory in 2017 to analyse and enhance the processing of proteins in the yeast endoplasmic reticulum and their subsequent secretion.


Research Project​


Quantitative analysis of the operation and control of oxidative protein folding in the yeast endoplasmic reticulum.

Dave Beal - Post Doc

Education and Employment

  • 1997-2002, BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University of Greenwich

  • 1997-2011, Pfizer Global Research and Development. ​Discovery Chemistry – synthesis of small molecules for projects in multiple therapeutic areas from lead discovery to candidate seeking. Chemical Biology – use of small molecule probes to investigate interaction of drug-like compounds with proteins. The production of synthetic immunogens, for use in the generation of therapeutic antibodies, via the conjugation of peptides and small molecules to immunogenic proteins such as BSA and KLH.

  • 2011-2015,  BBSRC funded PhD, University of Kent

  • 2015 - present, BBSRC funded Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Kent


Research Project​


Quantitative analysis of the operation and control of oxidative protein folding in the yeast endoplasmic reticulum.

Laura Petch - PhD student

Education and Employment

In May 2016, I graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a First class BSc (Hons) degree in Biomedical science. During my second year of this degree I carried out a 10 week summer project in the KFG at the University of Kent, titled ‘prion-mediated phenotypic heterogeneity in wild yeast’. Throughout this project I developed a range of lab skills whilst searching for novel phenotypes in wild strains of yeast, which may be explained by the presence of prions. This summer project was funded by the Genetics Society, which also allowed me to travel to Edinburgh to share my findings with a group of likeminded students. On completion of my degree, I have now returned to the Tuite lab in the KFG to begin a PhD, which has similar aims to the summer project.


Research Project

The epigenetic control of phenotypes in yeast

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