Danny Axford


Danny Axford is a Beamline Scientist with the MX beamline I24. He joined Diamond in 2008 from University College London, a constituent of the London Centre for Nanotechnology. He received his DPhil in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, graduating as one of the first students of the Life Science Interface Doctoral Training Centre.

Email: danny.axford@diamond.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1235 778983

Techniques and Disciplines

Other Specialist Areas

  • Beamline development
  • Data processing for MX

Latest Publications

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Current Research Interests

Image Current Research Interests

The macromolecular crystallography method seeks to obtain atomic-scale structural information from crystalline biological samples via X ray diffraction. Once we can visualize molecular interactions in atomic detail we can comprehend the chemistry underpinning biological function. A detailed understanding of the chemistry allows us to follow disease mechanisms and drug interactions, enabling the rational design of new therapeutics.

My research work at Diamond aims to enhance the macromolecular crystallography method such that more challenging biological targets can be routinely analysed such as membrane proteins and protein-protein complexes. Aspects of enhancement include optimization of the X ray beam in terms of size, intensity, stability and flexibility. Sample delivery is another major area with a novel methods under constant development aiming to improve efficiency and exploring options for new data collection techniques. Additionally the beamline team is working extend the remit of crystallography to encompass observations of structural dynamics. New light sources such as XFELs are enabling observation of fast chemical reactions and we can apply similar principles at Diamond beamline I24 in order to acquire information on sample dynamics. 
I collaborate with a number of biologists, including studies on bio-active peptides with applications in antibiotics and plant health. Along side the experimental work on the beamline, I have an interest in software development for improved data analysis. This involves significant interaction with the software teams at Diamond to ensure users can best interpret the measurements we take at the beamline. I also have collaborations with University engineering groups to enhance sample delivery enabling higher-throughput, more biologically relevant conditions and the ability to look at protein dynamics. Importantly, all the developments we make need to be accessible to the Diamond user community and I work hard to ensure users of the beamline have the information and training required to get the best out of their experiments and data collection time.

10 most recent publications

  1. Warren AJ, Axford D, Paterson NG, Owen RL. Exploiting Microbeams for Membrane Protein Structure Determination. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;922:105-17.
    doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-35072-1_8.
    PubMed PMID: 27553238.
  2. Axford D, Aller P, Sanchez-Weatherby J, Sandy J. Applications of thin-film sandwich crystallization platforms. Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun. 2016 Apr;72(Pt 4):313-9.
    doi: 10.1107/S2053230X16004386.
    Epub 2016 Mar 24. PubMed PMID: 27050266; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4822989.
  3. Ji X, Axford D, Owen R, Evans G, Ginn HM, Sutton G, Stuart DI. Polyhedra structures and the evolution of the insect viruses. J Struct Biol. 2015
    doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2015.08.009.
    Epub 2015 Aug 18. PubMed PMID: 26291392; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4597613.
  4. Axford D, Foadi J, Hu NJ, Choudhury HG, Iwata S, Beis K, Evans G, Alguel Y. Structure determination of an integral membrane protein at room temperature from crystals in situ. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2015 Jun;71(Pt 6):1228-37.
    doi: 10.1107/S139900471500423X.
    Epub 2015 May 14. PubMed PMID: 26057664; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC44612
  5. Gildea RJ, Waterman DG, Parkhurst JM, Axford D, Sutton G, Stuart DI, Sauter
    NK, Evans G, Winter G.New methods for indexing multi-lattice diffraction data.
    Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2014 Oct;70(Pt 10):2652-66.
    doi: 10.1107/S1399004714017039.
    Epub 2014 Sep 27. PubMed PMID: 25286849; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4188007.
  6. Axford D, Ji X, Stuart DI, Sutton G.In cellulo structure determination of a novel cypovirus polyhedrin. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2014 May;70(Pt
    doi: 10.1107/S1399004714004714.
    Epub 2014 Apr 30.
    PubMed PMID: 24816111; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4014125.
  7. Owen RL, Paterson N, Axford D, Aishima J, Schulze-Briese C, Ren J, Fry EE,
    Stuart DI, Evans G. Exploiting fast detectors to enter a new dimension in
    room-temperature crystallography
    . Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2014
    May;70(Pt 5):1248-56.
    doi: 10.1107/S1399004714005379.
    Epub 2014 Apr 26. PubMed PMID: 24816094; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4014120.
  8. Gessmann R, Axford D, Evans G, Brückner H, Petratos K. The crystal structure
    of samarosporin I at atomic resolution
    . J Pept Sci. 2012 Nov;18(11):678-84.
    doi: 10.1002/psc.2454.
    Epub 2012 Sep 28. PubMed PMID: 23019149.
  9. Axford D, Owen RL, Aishima J, Foadi J, Morgan AW, Robinson JI, Nettleship JE,
    Owens RJ, Moraes I, Fry EE, Grimes JM, Harlos K, Kotecha A, Ren J, Sutton G,
    Walter TS, Stuart DI, Evans G. In situ macromolecular crystallography using
    . Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2012 May;68(Pt 5):592-600.
    doi: 10.1107/S0907444912006749.
    Epub 2012 Apr 17. PubMed PMID: 22525757; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4791750.
  10. Wang X, Peng W, Ren J, Hu Z, Xu J, Lou Z, Li X, Yin W, Shen X, Porta C,
    Walter TS, Evans G, Axford D, Owen R, Rowlands DJ, Wang J, Stuart DI, Fry EE, Rao Z. A sensor-adaptor mechanism for enterovirus uncoating from structures of EV71. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012 Mar 4;19(4):424-9.
    doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2255.
    PubMed PMID: 22388738; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3378640.



Aston University
Acoustics for sample delivery in Macromolecular Crystallography. Microfluidics that allow the manipulation of samples.
University of Cambridge
Laser trapping microfluidics for sample delivery in Macromolecular Crystallography. Device development, integration to the beamline and optimization of X ray data collection routines.
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
The structure and function of membrane active peptides. I am working on the collection of X ray diffraction data from micro-crystals.


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