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Dr Yvonne Nyathi

Assistant Professor

Faculty/Dept/School School of Chemistry and Bioscience
(Faculty of Life Sciences)
Telephone +441274 234850


 Dr Yvonne Nyathi joined the University of Bradford in February 2020 as a Lecturer in Biochemistry. The field of protein quality control (proteostasis) broadly covers Yvonne’s previous and present research interests. Her PhD research focused on elucidating the mechanisms regulating the targeting, localisation and function of an ABCD1 transporter protein pivotal in peroxisomal fatty acid beta-oxidation. In 2010 when Yvonne finished her PHD, she  worked as a R&D scientist at Aptuscan Ltd (a spin-out company of the University of Leeds which is now part of the Avacta Group), developing proprietary combinatorial libraries and reagents for the platform Affimer technology (antibody mimetics with tuneable affinity and avidity) that underpins one of the key technologies in the company to date. The transition from an academic research environment to a commercial setting at a very early stage in her research career sparked her interest in translational research, which she is currently very keen to pursue. Following the acquisition of Aptuscan by The Avacta Group, Yvonne joined Dr Martin Pool’s lab at the University of Manchester, studying mechanisms that regulate protein quality control at the ribosome. Yvonne’s work showed that the quality control factors at the ribosome compete for bind and all events are tightly regulated to reduce the chances of mistakes during protein synthesis. This work led to a publication in the Journal of Cell Biology and attracted a commentary in Nature reviews. In 2014,  Yvonne then joined  Prof Stephen High’ lab  at the University of Manchester, working collaboratively with the chemical biology/structural biology group of Dr Rivka Isaacson (Kings College) focusing on the role of chaperones in mislocalised protein quality control. In 2017, Yvonne joined the University of Lincoln to pursue her research interests in protein quality control focusing on the role of the co-chaperone SGTA in protein misfolding/aggregation in the context of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and in the signalling pathways that regulate cancer .


Protein Quality Control Mechanisms

Protein folding and Dynamics

Protein Aggregation and Disease

Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation

Protein Engineering for Improved Functions

Research collaborators
Name Elena Piletska and Professor Sergey Piletsky
CompanyUniversity of Leicester
Role PI
ThemeMolecular imprinted polymers
Description Lead in polymer chemistry and molecular imprinted polymers to provide a platform technology for identifying binding sites and probing conformational changes of proteins upon substrate binding.
Name Christian Tiede
CompanyUniversity of Leeds
Role Co-I
ThemeAffimer technology for the identification of novel affinity reagents
DescriptionCombinatorial phage display libraries will be screened for binders which can discriminate isoforms and mutants of selected chaperones
Name Zak Hughes
CompanyUniversity of Bradford
Role Co-I
Theme Molecular dynamic simulation
DescriptionSimulation of structure for disordered chaperone proteins
NameHiroshi Doi
CompanyYokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine
RoleNeuroscientist with expertise in Huntington's disease
ThemeProtein quality control in Neurodegeneration
DescriptionLooking into of SGTA in Huntington's disease
NameDr Briony Yorke
CompanyUniversity of Bradford
RoleStructural Biologist with Crystallography Expertise
DescriptionInvestigating molecular mechanisms of cataract formation


Teaching interests

Currently teaching on the following modules:

Development of Practical Skills 1 BIS4003 Level 4

Introductory Biochemistry – BIS4007 Level 4- Module leader

Development of Practical Skills 2  BIS5003 Level 5

Clinical and Analytical Biochemistry BIS5013 Level 5

Research Projects  BIS6026 Level

Research Topics 1  BIS6009 Level 6 -Module leader

Research Topics 2  BIS6010 Level 6

Biology of Disease BIS6012 Level 6

Neuroendocrine Basis of Regulation and Metabolism BIS7021 Level 7

Research Project BIS7026 Level 7  

Supervised 15 undergraduate students, 2 MSc  students and 2 PhD student over the past  3 years.    

Teaching highlights

One of the complaints raised by students during the module evaluation was that for the Biological Analysis module (which I led while working at the University of Lincoln), the content they were required to remember was in many cases very abstract as they could not perform wet lab for all the techniques covered on the module. In response to this, I applied and successfully secured a Teaching Innovation Fund to develop multimedia resources by filming and recording laboratory techniques performed in the labs at the University of Lincoln. This was a one-year student-led project which involved filming, video editing and subtitling. I introduced these resources to support teaching and learning of the module. This was accompanied by an improvement in student satisfaction scores from 69 % to 85 % compared to the previous year. Moreover, the average module mark for a cohort of 175 students increased from 62% to 69%, suggesting this approach was accompanied by significant learning gains. This is very important to me as it highlights that we need to listen to the students and make an effort to improve their learning experience.

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-17: Biochemical Society, Member
  • 01-MAR-21: Equality and Diversity,
  • 01-JAN-15: Fellow of Higher Education Academy
  • Deputy Director of Research for the Life course theme
  • I was awarded a grant by the Biochemical Society to engage sixth form students with Molecular Biosciences. My focus was on protein folding and how this lead to disease if it goes wrong.


Peer Reviewed Journal
TitleUSP5 enhances SGTA mediated protein quality control. (2022)
AuthorsHill J;Nyathi Y;
JournalPLoS ONE
TitleStructural complexity of the co-chaperone SGTA: a conserved C-terminal region is implicated in dimerization and substrate quality control. (2018)
AuthorsMartínez-Lumbreras S;Krysztofinska EM;Thapaliya A;Spilotros A;Matak-Vinkovic D;Salvadori E;Roboti P;Nyathi Y;Muench JH;Roessler MM;Svergun DI;High S;Isaacson RL;
JournalBMC Biology
TitleSGTA interacts with the proteasomal ubiquitin receptor Rpn13 via a carboxylate clamp mechanism. (2016)
AuthorsThapaliya A;Nyathi Y;Martínez-Lumbreras S;Krysztofinska EM;Evans NJ;Terry IL;High S;Isaacson RL;
JournalScientific Reports
TitleBinding of SGTA to Rpn13 selectively modulates protein quality control. (2015)
AuthorsLeznicki P;Korac-Prlic J;Kliza K;Husnjak K;Nyathi Y;Dikic I;High S;
JournalJournal of Cell Science
TitleAnalysis of the interplay of protein biogenesis factors at the ribosome exit site reveals new role for NAC. (2015)
AuthorsNyathi Y;Pool MR;
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
TitleStructure and function of the bacterial heterodimeric ABC transporter CydDC: stimulation of ATPase activity by thiol and heme compounds. (2014)
AuthorsYamashita M;Shepherd M;Booth WI;Xie H;Postis V;Nyathi Y;Tzokov SB;Poole RK;Baldwin SA;Bullough PA;
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
TitleCo-translational targeting and translocation of proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum. (2013)
AuthorsNyathi Y;Wilkinson BM;Pool MR;
JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta
TitlePseudo half-molecules of the ABC transporter, COMATOSE, bind Pex19 and target to peroxisomes independently but are both required for activity. (2012)
AuthorsNyathi Y;Zhang X;Baldwin JM;Bernhardt K;Johnson B;Baldwin SA;Theodoulou FL;Baker A;
JournalFEBS Letters
TitleStructure-function studies of an engineered scaffold protein derived from Stefin A. II: Development and applications of the SQT variant. (2011)
AuthorsStadler LK;Hoffmann T;Tomlinson DC;Song Q;Lee T;Busby M;Nyathi Y;Gendra E;Tiede C;Flanagan K;Cockell SJ;Wipat A;Harwood C;Wagner SD;Knowles MA;Davis JJ;Keegan N;Ferrigno PK;
JournalProtein Engineering, Design and Selection
TitleThe Arabidopsis peroxisomal ABC transporter, comatose, complements the Saccharomyces cerevisiae pxa1 pxa2Delta mutant for metabolism of long-chain fatty acids and exhibits fatty acyl-CoA-stimulated ATPase activity. (2010)
AuthorsNyathi Y;De Marcos Lousa C;van Roermund CW;Wanders RJ;Johnson B;Baldwin SA;Theodoulou FL;Baker A;
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry