Eleanor Banwell's Research Page

Designing SAF Hydrogels

I am now a Research Assistant working on self-assembling hydrogels, although I also completed my Ph.D. here in June 2007.

My current research is into the α-helical coiled-coil self-assembling fibre (SAF) peptides (1, 2) and the effects of mutations to the sequence on fibre morphology. My current research aims include the design of peptides able to self assemble into hydrogels and, together with Ed Abelardo, their use as a scaffold for the three-dimensional culture of a variety of cell types.

I am particularly interested in the development of a method for 3D culture of D. melanogaster cells as a tool for geneticists.

D. melanogaster cells

Cl8+ D. melanogaster cells (3) cultured in a SAF-ext fibre matrix (2,4) after A) 24 hours and B) 72 hours.


  1. Pandya MJ et al. Biochemistry 39 8728-8734 [2000]
  2. Smith AM et al. Advanced Functional Materials 16 1022-30 [2006]
  3. Currie DA et al. Development 102 805-814 [1988]
  4. Banwell EF. University of Bristol Ph.D Thesis [2007]