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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory


After obtaining his PhD in low-temperature quantum transport from the Leibniz University of Hannover in Germany in 2002, Dr Keyser changed his research focus to single molecule biophysics by joining the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at Delft University of Technology as a postdoctoral researcher. After demonstrating the first direct force measurements on DNA molecules in a nanopore, he joined Leipzig University with an Emmy Noether award as a group leader in 2006. Since 2007, Dr Keyser is a faculty member at the Cavendish laboratory working on the physics of membrane transport with financial support of an ERC starting grant (2010-2015) and an ERC consolidator grant (2015-2020). He was promoted to a readership in 2013 and a professorship in 2016. 

Full CV


My main research is focused on understanding all transport processes through membranes of both biological and technological origin. Specifically, we are interested in the physics of ions, macromolecules and particles in confined geometries at the single molecule or particle level.  We aim to exert maximum control over all parameters in the experiment using techniques such as: DNA (origami) self-assembly, optical trapping, particle tracking, fluorescence microscopy, electrophysiology, or micro-/nanofluidics.  In parallel, we are always improving and developing new measurement techniques based on a combination of single molecule approaches.


Key publications: 

N. A. W. Bell and U. F. Keyser. Digitally encoded DNA nanostructures for multiplexed, single-molecule protein sensing with nanopores. Nature Nanotechnology, 11:645-651, 2016.

K. Misiunas, S. Pagliara, E. Lauga, J. R. Lister, and U. F. Keyser. Nondecaying hydrodynamic interactions along narrow channels. Physical Review Letters, 115:038301, 2015

S. Pagliara, C. Schwall, and U. F. Keyser.  Optimizing Diffusive Transport Through a Synthetic Membrane Channel.  Advanced Materials, 25(6):844-849, 2013.

N. A. W. Bell, C. R. Engst, M. Ablay, G. Divitini, C. Ducati, T. Liedl, and U. F. Keyser. DNA origami nanopores.  Nano Letters (published online 20.12.2011), 12(1):512-517, 2012.

N. A. W. Bell and U. F. Keyser. Specific Protein Detection using Designed DNA Carriers and Nanopores. JACS, 137(5):2035-2041, 2015.

Complete list of publications


Director of Graduate Education
Professor of Applied Physics
Fellow of Gonville and Caius College
Professor Ulrich F Keyser

Contact Details

Email address: 
Biological and Soft Systems,
Room 1.84, Maxwell Centre,
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue
+44 (0)1223 337272