Nicholas Harmer

Nicholas Harmer

Associate Professor in Biochemistry

University of Exeter, UK

Tel: 01392 725179 






Network Investigator


Research Keywords: 

Burkholderia pseudomallei, Coxiella burnetii, enzymology, structural biology



My main research interests are understanding how enzymes work, and how they can be used for medical and biotechnology purposes. I have a particular interest in the enzymes that biosynthesise bacterial polysaccharides, especially novel sugars. My group’s main aim in vaccine design is to build recombinant polysaccharides from bacteria that are hard to study or prepare material from. I have twenty years’ expertise in protein science, enzymology and structural biology, and have worked with, collaborated on and advised on the characterisation of a wide range of proteins. 


Related Websites: 

Profile page at University of Exeter


Key Publications:

Bradshaw, W. J., Bruxelle, J.-F., Kovacs-Simon, A., Harmer, N. J., Janoir, C., Péchiné, S., Acharya, K. R., Michell, S. L. (2019) Molecular features of lipoprotein CD0873–a potential vaccine against the human pathogen Clostridioides difficile, Journal of Biological Chemistry, in press. 

Sheppard, E. C., Rogers, S., Harmer, N. J., Chahwan, R. (2019) A universal fluorescence-based toolkit for real-time quantification of DNA and RNA nuclease activity, bioRxiv, 548628; Scientific Reports, 9, 8853. 

Finnigan, W., Cutlan, R., Snajdrova, R., Adams, J. P., Littlechild, J. A., Harmer, N. J. (2019) Engineering a seven enzyme biotransformation using mathematical modelling and characterized enzyme parts, ChemCatChem, in press. 

Winter, A. J., Williams, C., Isupov, M. N., Crocker, H., Gromova, M., Marsh, P., Wilkinson, O. J., Dillingham, M. S., Harmer, N. J., Titball, R. W., Crump, M. P. (2018) The molecular basis of protein toxin HicA– dependent binding of the protein antitoxin HicB to DNA, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 293, 19429-40.  

Vivoli, M., Pang, J., Harmer, N. J. (2017) A half-site multimeric enzyme achieves its cooperativity without conformational changes, Scientific Reports, 7, 16529. 

Steinberg, G., Harmer, N. J., Schuster, M., Kilaru, S. (2017) Woronin body-based sealing of septal pores, Fungal Genetics and Biology, 109, 53-55. 

Bayliss, M., Donaldson, M. I., Nepogodiev, S. A., Pergolizzi, G., Scott, A. E., Harmer, N. J., Field, R. A., Prior, J. L. (2017) Structural characterisation of the capsular polysaccharide expressed by Burkholderia thailandensis strain E555:: wbiI (pKnock-KmR) and assessment of the significance of the 2-O-acetyl group in immune protection, Carbohydrate Research, 452, 17-24. 

Vivoli, M., Renou, J., Chevalier, A., Norville, I. H., Diaz, S., Juli, C., Atkins, H., Holzgrabe, U., Renard, P.-Y., Sarkar-Tyson, M., Harmer, N.J. (2017) A miniaturized peptidyl-prolyl isomerase enzyme assay, Analytical Biochemistry, 536, 59-68. 

Xu, Y., Smith, R., Vivoli, M., Ema, M., Goos, N., Gehrke, S., Harmer, N. J., Wagner, G. K. (2017) Covalent inhibitors of LgtC: A blueprint for the discovery of non-substrate-like inhibitors for bacterial glycosyltransferases, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 25, 3182-94. 

Finnigan, W., Thomas, A., Cromar, H., Gough, B., Snajdrova, R., Adams, J. P., Littlechild, J. A., Harmer, N. J. (2017) Characterization of carboxylic acid reductases as enzymes in the toolbox for synthetic chemistry, ChemCatChem, 9, 1005-17.