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Durham University

Email and Telephone Directory

Staff Profile

Dr Tim Hawkins, BSc (Hons); PhD; FRMS

Senior Experimental Officer - Bioimaging/Advanced Light Microscopy in the Department of Biosciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41333
Room number: 137/138

Contact Dr Tim Hawkins (email at

Twitter: @BioimagingDurh1

I’m a molecular cell biologist and manage the core Bioimaging and Light Microscopy facility in the department of Biosciences. I am also Deputy Director of the Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology and the outreach co-ordinator for Biosciences.

Research Interests

My Research interests involve the use of a wide variety of imaging techniques to study 1) the cytoskeleton of plant and animal cells 2) the accessory proteins which control their dynamics and organisation and 3) their role in cell division, morphology and response to mechanical stress.

Some current projects

  • Characterisation of members of the NET family of plant actin binding proteins which link the actin cytoskeleton to district membrane compartments (with Prof Hussey).
  • Algae cell biology and the evolution of division arrays using the model O. tauri. 
  • Development of new imaging methodologies in particular for plant cells and tissues.
  • Cell biology of Keratin associated proteins.
  • Collaborations with industrial partners to develop new imaging approaches to help screen and understand their products and the fundamental biology behind them.
  • Combining high-resolution imaging with mechanical manipulation and modelling in both animal and plants cells - As part of this programme we are developing a microscope-mountable mechanical platform for the precise controlled stretching/compression and high resolution imaging of elastic materials, cells and tissues. The mechanical platform incorporates high specification linear platforms (Zaber) and ISA miniature s-beam force transducers coupled with an FT-111 indicator for accurate stretching and force measurements respectively (flintec)

Lab Members

Research Groups

Department of Biosciences

  • Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology
  • Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
  • Molecular Plant Sciences

Research Interests

  • Bioimaging
  • Cell Biology
  • Cytoskeletion

Teaching Areas

  • Biological Microscopy Workshop

    (90 hours/year.)
  • Cell Biology (BIOL2481)

    (8 hours/year.)
  • Research Skills for Biosciences (BIOL2581) Tutor

  • Fundamentals of Research (BIOL1321) Tutor
  • Molecules & Cells (BIOL1281) Tutor
  • Research Skills (4 hours/year.)


Chapter in book

  • Hussey, P.J., Deeks, M.J., Hawkins, T.J. & Ketelaar, T. (Published). Polar cell growth and the cytoskeleton. In Polarity in Plants. Lindsey, K. Blackwell Publishing. 12.

Journal Article

  • Pollastri, S., Jorba, I., Hawkins, T.J., Llusia, J. Michelozzi, M., Navajas, D., Penuelas, J., Hussey, P.J., Knight, M.R. & Loreto, F. (2019). Leaves of isoprene‐emitting tobacco plants maintain PSII stability at high temperatures. New Phytologist
  • Brault, Marie L, Petit, Jules D, Immel, Françoise, Nicolas, William J, Glavier, Marie, Brocard, Lysiane, Gaston, Amèlia, Fouché, Mathieu, Hawkins, Timothy J, Crowet, Jean‐Marc, Grison, Magali S, Germain, Véronique, Rocher, Marion, Kraner, Max, Alva, Vikram, Claverol, Stéphane, Paterlini, Andrea, Helariutta, Ykä, Deleu, Magali, Lins, Laurence, Tilsner, Jens & Bayer, Emmanuelle M (2019). Multiple C2 domains and transmembrane region proteins (MCTPs) tether membranes at plasmodesmata. EMBO reports 20(8): e47182.
  • Johnson, Simeon, Cowley, Kevin, Hawkins, Timothy J. & Määttä, Arto (2019). Pulling force deforms hair follicle root sheath nuclei and surrounding dermal collagen matrix differently at infundibulum, isthmus and suprabulbar regions. Experimental Dermatology 28(7): 862-866.
  • Reipert, Siegfried, Goldammer, Helmuth, Richardson, Christine, Goldberg, Martin W., Hawkins, Timothy J., Hollergschwandtner, Elena, Kaufmann, Walter A., Antreich, Sebastian & Stierhof, York-Dieter (2018). Agitation Modules: Flexible Means to Accelerate Automated Freeze Substitution. Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry 66(12): 903-921.
  • Duit, Rebecca, Hawkins, Tim J. & Määttä, Arto (2018). Depilatory chemical thioglycolate affects hair cuticle and cortex, degrades epidermal cornified envelopes and induces proliferation and differentiation responses in keratinocytes. Experimental Dermatology 28(1): 76-79.
  • Maruthappu, Thiviyani, McGinty, Lisa A., Blaydon, Diana C., Fell, Benjamin, Määttä, Arto, Duit, Rebecca, Hawkins, Tim, Braun, Kristin M., Simpson, Michael A., O’Toole, Edel A. & Kelsell, David P. (2018). Recessive Mutation in FAM83G Associated with Palmoplantar Keratoderma and Exuberant Scalp Hair. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 138(4): 984-987.
  • Quinlan, R.A., Schwarz, N., Windoffer, R. Richardson, C. , Hawkins, T.J., Broussard, J.A., Green, K.J. & Leube, R.E. (2017). A rim-and-spoke hypothesis to explain the biomechanical roles for cytoplasmic intermediate filament networks. J. Cell Biol
  • Duckney, P., Deeks, M., Dixon, M., Kroon, J., Hawkins, T. & Hussey, P. (2017). Actin–membrane interactions mediated by NETWORKED2 in Arabidopsis pollen tubes through associations with Pollen Receptor-Like Kinase 4 and 5. New Phytologist 216(4): 1170-1180.
  • Wang, P., Hawkins, T.J. & Hussey, P.J. (2017). Connecting membranes to the actin cytoskeleton. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 40: 71-76.
  • Garagounis, Constantine, Kostaki, Kalliopi-Ioanna, Hawkins, Tim J., Cummins, Ian, Fricker, Mark D., Hussey, Patrick J., Hetherington, Alistair M. & Sweetlove, Lee J. (2017). Microcompartmentation of cytosolic aldolase by interaction with the actin cytoskeleton in Arabidopsis. Journal Of Experimental Botany 68(5): 885-898.
  • Wang, Pengwei, Richardson, Christine, Hawkins, Timothy J., Sparkes, Imogen, Hawes, Chris & Hussey, Patrick J. (2016). Plant VAP27 proteins: domain characterization, intracellular localization and role in plant development. New Phytologist 210(4): 1311-1326.
  • Nelson, CJ, Duckney, P, Hawkins, TJ, Deeks, MJ, Laissue PP, Hussey, PJ & Obara, B (2014). Blobs and curves: object-based colocalisation for plant cells. Functional Plant Biology 42(5): 471-485.
  • Palmer, Antony J., Ford, Susan H., Butler, Stephen J., Hawkins, Timothy J., Hussey, Patrick J., Pal, Robert, Walton, James W. & Parker, David (2014). Emissive europium complexes that stain the cell walls of healthy plant cells, pollen tubes and roots. RSC Advances 4(18): 9356-9366.
  • Hawkins, T.J., Deeks, M.J., Wang, P. & Hussey, P.J. (2014). The evolution of the actin binding NET superfamily. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 254.
  • Wang, Pengwei, Hawkins, Timothy J., Richardson, Christine, Cummins, Ian, Deeks, Michael J., Sparkes, Imogen, Hawes, Chris & Hussey, Patrick J. (2014). The Plant Cytoskeleton, NET3C, and VAP27 Mediate the Link between the Plasma Membrane and Endoplasmic Reticulum. Current Biology 24(12): 1397-1405.
  • Deeks, Michael J., Calcutt, Joanna R., Ingle, Elizabeth K.S., Hawkins, Timothy J., Chapman, Sean, Richardson, A.Christine, Mentlak, David A., Dixon, Martin R., Cartwright, Frances, Smertenko, Andrei P., Oparka, Karl & Hussey, Patrick J. (2012). A Superfamily of Actin-Binding Proteins at the Actin-Membrane Nexus of Higher Plants. Current Biology 22(17): 1595-1600.
  • Piette, B.M.A.G., Liu, J., Peeters, K., Smertenko, A., Hawkins, T., Deeks, M., Quinlan, R., Zakrzewski, W.J. & Hussey, P.J. (2009). A Thermodynamic Model of Microtubule Assembly and Disassembly. PLoS ONE 4(8): e6378.
  • Dixon, D. P., Hawkins, T., Hussey, P. J. & Edwards, R. (2009). Enzyme activities and subcellular localization of members of the Arabidopsis glutathione transferase superfamily. Journal of Experimental Botany 60(4): 1207-1218.
  • D. Twell, S.K. Park, T.J. Hawkins, D. Schubert, R. Schmidt, A. Smertenko & P.J. Hussey (2002). MOR1/GEM1 has an essential role in the plant-specific cytokinetic phragmoplast. Nature Cell Biology 4(9): 711-714.
  • P.J. Hussey, T.J. Hawkins, H. Igarashi, D. Kaloriti & A. Smertenko (2002). The plant cytoskeleton: recent advances in the study of the plant microtubule-associated proteins MAP-65, MAP-190 and the Xenopus MAP215-like protein, MOR1. Plant Molecular Biology 50(6): 915-924.
  • P.J. Hussey & T.J. Hawkins (2001). Plant microtubule-associated proteins: the HEAT is off in temperature-sensitive mor1. Trends in Plant Science 6(9): 389-392.

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Bioimaging
  • Plant sciences: Bioimaging