Tharin Blumenschein


  • 0.16 Chemistry

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Tharin obtained a BSc in Molecular Sciences and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of São Paulo (Brazil). Her interests in Structural Biology then took her to Canada, where she used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to study protein structure and dynamics in the regulation of muscle contraction as a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Brian Sykes’s laboratory, in the University of Alberta, before moving to the UK to work with Prof. Steve Matthews at Imperial College London, where she studied proteins involved in cell invasion by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Research interests in the Blumenschein group involve using NMR spectroscopy to investigate structural and dynamic properties of proteins, and their role in protein interactions and function. Current projects include Chlamydia effectors, cell signalling in cancer, and the cytochrome c, as well as the study of intrinsically disordered proteins by NMR spectroscopy.

Selected publications

L. C. Wahl, J. E. Watt, H. T. Yim, D. De Bourcier, J. Tolchard, S. Soond, T. M. A. Blumenschein and A. Chantry.
Smad7 binds differently to individual and tandem WW3 and WW4 domains of WWP2 ubiquitin ligase isoforms.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 2019, 20, 4682.

J. Tolchard, S. J. Walpole, A. J. Miles, R. Maytum, L. A. Eaglen, T. Hackstadt, B. A. Wallace and T. M. A. Blumenschein.
The intrinsically disordered Tarp protein from Chlamydia binds actin with a partially preformed helix.
Scientific Reports, 2018, 8, 1960.

A. I. Karsisiotis, O. M. Deacon, M. T. Wilson, C. Macdonald, T. M. A. Blumenschein, G. R. Moore and J. R. Worrall.
Increased dynamics in the 40-57 Ω-loop of the G41S variant of human cytochrome c promote its pro-apoptotic conformation.
Scientific Reports, 2016, 6, 30447.

L. S. Boutemy, S. R. King, J. Win, R. K. Hughes, T. A. Clarke, T. M. A. Blumenschein, S. Kamoun and M. J. Banfield.
Structures of Phytophthora RXLR effector proteins: a conserved but adaptable fold underpins functional diversity.
Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011, 286, 35834-35842.
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.262303


  • 1990-1994 – BSc in Molecular Sciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • 1995-2000 – PhD in Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, University of São Paulo, Brazil 
  • 2000-2005 – Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Canada
  • 2005-2007 – Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College London
  • 2007-2020 – Lecturer in Biomolecular NMR, School of Chemistry, University of East Anglia
  • 2020-current - Associate Professor, School of Chemistry, University of East Anglia

Key Research Interests

Research interests in the Blumenschein group revolve around understanding protein structures and dynamics, and their role in protein interactions and function. We perform protein expression and purification to obtain isotopically labelled samples for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy studies, complemented by other biophysical techniques as necessary.

Current research projects include the study of pathogen effectors, cell signalling in cancer and apoptosis, with a particular interest in intrinsically disordered proteins in these areas. Effectors are proteins produced by pathogens that contribute to the process of infection, both of animal and plant hosts. We are currently studying the structure and dynamics of Tarp, an effector from Chlamydia trachomatis involved in the cell invasion in human infection (in collaboration with Dr Ted Hackstadt, NIH, USA).

Cell signalling is intrinsic to the process of cancer. The process of cell division and growth is usually tightly regulated in each cell, involving a number of proteins that interact with each other to maintain this balanced network of signals. We are looking at three different signalling processes that are involved in cancer and apoptosis: ADAM-15 interactions with different intracellular kinases (in collaboration with Prof Dylan Edwards), the E3 ligase WWP2 interactions with its targets (in collaboration with Dr Andrew Chantry), and the role of cytochrome c in apoptosis (in collaboration with Dr Jonathan Worral, Essex).

Key Responsibilities

  • Head of the virtual School of Natural Sciences
  • Member of the School of Chemistry Executive team
  • Member of Natural Sciences extenuating circumstances panel
  • Reserve member of the Faculty Appeals and Complaints panel

Research Group or Lab Membership

Former group members

  • Danielle de Bourcier (PhD student 2014-18)
  • Liz Shedden(PhD student 2011-15)
  • James Tolchard (PhD student 2009-2014)
  • Luke Spalding (undergraduate project student 2019/20)
  • Lisa Chim (undergraduate project student 2019/20)
  • Cameron Brown (undergraduate project student 2018/19)
  • Lingqing Ye (undergraduate project student 2018/19)
  • Jessica Rushford (undergraduate project student 2017/18)
  • Kate Charnley (undergraduate project student 2017/18)
  • Mark Riemer-Elms (undergraduate project student 2016/17)
  • Jacob Pullin (summer intern 2015 and undergraduate project student 2015/16)
  • Jack Dwyer (undergraduate project student 2015/16)
  • Eleanor Nash (undergraduate project student 2015/16)
  • Oluchi Opara (undergraduate project student 2015/16)
  • Sam Walpole (undergraduate summer student 2013 and project student 2014/15)
  • Jessica Spencer (undergraduate project student 2014/15)
  • Alex Smith (undergraduate summer student 2014)
  • Monica Sharman (undergraduate project student 2013/14)
  • Priscilla Sieira Chaves (undergraduate summer student 2012)
  • Michael Wood (undergraduate summer student 2012)
  • Krissy Kay (visiting researcher 2010/11 and MSc project student 2011/12)
  • Vicki Chambers (undergraduate project student 2011/12)
  • Alex Carey-Hulyer (undergraduate summer student 2010 and project student 2011/12)
  • Rachael Gathercole (undergraduate summer student 2011)
  • Francesca Kinsey (undergraduate summer student 2011)
  • Claire Allen (undergraduate summer student 2009 and project student 2010/11)
  • Aaron Eveleigh (undergraduate project student 2009/10)
  • Lawrence Eaglen (undergraduate project student 2008/09)
  • Leah Morris (undergraduate summer student 2008)

Areas of Expertise

Protein structure and function; magnetic resonance; biochemistry.

Administrative Posts

  • Senior Adviser for Natural Sciences
  • Science without Borders Coordinator for Chemistry
  • Member of the Natural Sciences Teaching & Admissions Executive Team
  • Member of the School of Chemistry Web Committee

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


  • Chemistry
  • NMR
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Protein structure
  • Protein dynamics
  • Protein interactions
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins
  • Structural biology
  • Protein NMR