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Fellows Directory

Robert Simmons

Robert Simmons

Professor Robert Simmons FRS


Elected: 1995


Robert Simmons is a biophysicist who has made significant contributions to our understanding of muscle contraction. Alongside Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Andrew Huxley, he developed methods to measure muscle mechanics. His technical achievements set new standards in experimentation, and in application have had a broad impact on muscle research.

Later in his career, Robert developed an apparatus that enables the activity of muscle protein myosin to be accurately measured whilst being held by optical tweezers. This technique is now widely used to further understanding of the interactions between actin and myosin during muscle contraction. Through this successful application to large biomolecules of methods normally reserved for the study of individual atoms, Robert helped to launch the field of single molecule biophysics.

Robert has published numerous scientific papers in prestigious journals. He has also served as honorary director of the Medical Research Council Muscle and Cell Motility Unit.

Professional positions

Emeritus Professor of Biophysics, Randall Division Of Cell and Molecular Biophysics

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biophysics and structural biology


Muscle contraction, Single molecule biophysics

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