Dr Stefan Howorka

Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Dr Stefan Howorka

Address: Department of Chemistry, UCL
Phone No: +44 (0)20 7679 4702
Fax No: +44 (0)20 7679 7463
Extension: 24702
Photo of Stefan Howorka

Research areas of interest include:

  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Synthetic biology
  • Protein engineering and nucleic acids modification
  • Single-molecule detection
  • Surface nanopatterning



The Howorka group works within the areas of nanobiotechnology and synthetic biology on the assembly of bio-polymers into nanoarchitectures with new functional properties. The rationally designed nanostructures include DNA-based nanopores, protein nanolattices, and nanopatterned polymer films. Techniques for chemically modifying the bio-polymers play a key role in order to tailor the nanostructures’ properties for applications in biomedicine, biosensing, and biological research. Furthermore, single-molecule detection helps to characterise the nanostructures or to demonstrate their functional properties.

Research Profile

Selected Publications

  1. Burns, S., Stulz, E., Howorka, S. (2013) Self-Assembled DNA Nanopores that Span Lipid Bilayers.  Nano Letters, nl-2012-04147f, published online
  2. Howorka, S., Siwy, Z. (2012) Nanopores as Protein Sensors. Nature Biotechnology, 30, 507-508
  3. Baranova, E., Fronzes, R., Garcia-Pino, A., Papapostolou, D., Péhau-Arnaudet, G., Pardon, E., Steyaert, S., Howorka, S., Remaut, H. (2012) SbsB Structure and Lattice Reconstruction Unveil Ca2+ Triggered S-layer Assembly. Nature, 487, 119-122
  4. Schlapak, R., Danzberger, J., Haselgruebler, T., Hinterdorfer, P., Schäffler, F., Howorka, S. (2012) Painting with Biomolecules at the Nanoscale: Biofunctionalization with Tunable Surface Densities. Nano Letters, 12, 1983–1989
  5. Zhu, R., Howorka, S., Pröll, J., Kienberger, F., Preiner, J., Hesse, J., Ebner, A., Pastushenko, V. P., Gruber, H. J., Hinterdorfer, P. (2010) Nanomechanical Recognition Measurements of Individual DNA Molecules Reveals Epigenetic Methylation Patterns. Nature Nanotechnology, 5, 788-791

All Publications

  • 2009/10 to date: Assoc. Prof. / Reader in Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, University College London
  • 2005 to 2009: Assist. Prof. / Lecturer in Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, University College London
  • 2001 - 2004: Group Leader, Biotech incubator Upper Austrian Research GmbH, Linz, Austria
  • 1999 - 2001: Postdoctoral Fellow, Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Prof. Bayley
  • 1995 – 1999: PhD, University of Vienna, Austria / Research stay at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
  • 1988 – 1995: Diploma Study of Biochemistry (MSc), University of Vienna, Austria