Prof Stefan Howorka

Prof Stefan Howorka

Professor of Chemical Biology

Dept of Chemistry

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2005

Research summary

My group uses DNA to build new nanomaterials with designed function. Examples are synthetic membrane nanopores for low-cost, portable biosensing at the single-molecule level. The DNA structures are also research tools in membrane biophysics and cell biology. In related research, my group explores the action of antimicrobial peptide pores that rupture bilayer membranes. Previous research interests include protein nanopores, bacterial S-layer proteins. nucleic acids chemistry, and surface chemistry. See also the group website at www.howorkalab.com.

Teaching summary

I have taught organic chemistry to Biochemistry students, and currently lecture biological chemistry to 2nd and 4th year undergraduate and master students with a focus on DNA/RNA structure, nucleic acids chemistry, and peptide chemistry. I also assess literature projects for Chemistry and Natural Sciences students, and examine MSci students on their final year research project.


Universitat Wien
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1999
Universitat Wien
First Degree, Diplom | 1995


I have studied Biochemistry at the University of Vienna and carried out my PhD work on bacterial S-layer proteins under the supervision of Prof. Werner Lubitz at the Vienna BioCenter and Prof. Hagan Bayley at Texas A&M University. My postdoctoral training was on membrane protein nanopores and their rational redesign into biosensors at Prof. Bayley in Texas. After a three-year stint at an Austrian biotech incubator on single-molecule sensing, I was appointed Lecturer at UCL Chemistry in 2005 and was promoted to Professor in Chemical Biology in 2016.