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Duncan McMillan is an Assistant Professor in Enzymology at TU Delft. He was raised in New Zealand, where he was trained as a microbiologist/membrane biochemist (Univ. Otago). His interests in bioenergetics and microbial physiology exported him to the United Kingdom (Univ. Leeds) where he studied bioelectrochemistry in biomimetic lipid bilayers and started his studies in single-molecule. He then studied molecular machines in single molecule firstly in Germany (Friedrich Schiller Univ.), then in Japan (The Univ. of Tokyo) while continuing his work in bioelectrochemistry and microbial physiology. While in Japan he became an Assistant Professor in the lab of Hiroyuki Noji and orchestrated an international consortium between Japan and New Zealand. He was then awarded the Prestigious Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2016, and has since taken up his present position at TU Delft.


The overarching theme of the research in the Membrane Bioenergetics Unit is focused on ‘energy and life’ exploring links between physiology, respiration and central metabolism using classical microbiology, biochemistry, biomimetic membrane technologies and single-molecule biophysics. With this fundamental knowledge we investigate the adaptations of life to selective environmental pressures with particular focus on the function of the cell membrane, and the role of respiratory and central metabolic enzymes both in health and disease  and environmental adaptation.

This research is divided into these overlapping areas of interest:

1) Regulation and function of respiratory chain components. This broadens to the interplay between respiratory components within a bacterium and the affect on other bacteria or cells in the same environmental niche.

2) The role of metals in respiratory enzymes and their function in electron transfer

3) Protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions

4) Biomechanics of molecular motors

Dr. Duncan McMillan