I’ve been a Director of Studies at Sidney since 2015, and it’s one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had. The opportunity to help students develop over several years – often from admissions interview to graduation – is tremendously satisfying.

Small-group teaching is never boring, even if you've been doing it for over fifteen years. Tailoring the discussion to students’ needs means no two sessions are the same, and being challenged to find new ways to explore familiar topics is constantly stimulating. I help students test and refine their understanding, often by picking holes in their arguments. Students find this hard work, but value the depth of understanding this gives them, as well as the practice in critical thinking. Two approaches I use often are to go backwards from the point under discussion (e.g. “where do the peaks in this spectrum come from in the first place?”) or forwards (e.g. “what would happen to this experiment if you swapped these two atoms?”).

My research uses biological chemistry to solve problems in life sciences. Examples include measuring chemical changes to RNA inside antibiotic-resistant bacteria, detecting cancer biomarkers using tiny water-in-oil droplets, and using DNA tags to image clumps of proteins that cause Alzheimer’s Disease. I started my research life developing fluorescent probes for PCR tests, and wrote an explainer on these at the height of the pandemic ((https://sites.google.com/view/rtranasinghe-rtpcr). Research is also an opportunity for teaching: I have  supervised the projects of ten undergraduates over the years. All ten went on to postgraduate research and their work resulted in two publications (most recently in Nature Communications, featuring the work of two Part III students: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02714-7), while one of the students won a prize for the best project in biological chemistry.


  1. Xia, Z., Prescott, E. E., Wareing, H. E., Matuszyk, M. M., Dakin, H., Dimou, E., Zuo, E., Zhang, Y. P., Lam, J. Y. L., Danial, J. S. H., Leah, T., Barnes, K. A., Strickland, M., Jiang, H., Thornton, P., Crowther, D. C., Holtzman, D. M., Bell, S. M., Higginbottom, A., Ferraiuolo, L., Mortiboys, H., Wharton, S. B., Ranasinghe, R. T., Klenerman, D. and De, S. "Co-aggregation with Apolipoprotein E modulates the function of Amyloid-β in Alzheimer’s disease" (2023) bioRxiv, 2021.07.13.452239; • https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.13.452239
  2. Di Antonio, A., Ponjavic, A., Radzevičius, A., Ranasinghe, R.T., Catalano, M., Zhang, X., Shen, J. Needham, L.-M., Lee, S.F., Klenerman, D. and Balasubramanian, S. “Single-molecule visualization of DNA G-quadruplex formation in live cells”. (2020) Nat. Chem.12, 832-837, • https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-0506-4  
  3. Ranasinghe, R.T., Challand, M. R., Ganzinger, K.A., Lewis, B.W., Softley, C., Schmied, W. H., Shivji, N.H., Chin, J.W., Spencer, J. and Klenerman, D. “Detecting RNA base methylations in single cells by in situ hybridization”. (2018) Nat. Commun., 9, 655, • http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02714-7
  4. Ludtmann, M.H.R., Angelova, P.R., Horrocks, M.H., Choi, M.L., Rodrigues, M., Baev, A.Y., Berezhnov, A.V., Yao, Z., Little, D., Banushi, B., Al-Menhali, A.S., Ranasinghe, R.T., Whiten, D.R., Yapom, R. Singh Dolt, K., Devine, M.J., Gissen, P., Kunath, T., Jaganjac, M., Pavlov, E.V., Klenerman, D., Abramov, A.Y., and Gandhi, S. “α-synuclein oligomers interact with ATP synthase and open the permeability transition pore in Parkinson’s disease”. (2018) Nat. Commun., 9, 2293, • http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04422-2
  5. Shim, J., Ranasinghe, R. T., Smith, C. A., Ibrahim, S. M., Hollfelder, F., Huck, W. T. S., Klenerman, D. and Abell, C. (2013) “Ultrarapid Generation of Femtoliter Microfluidic Droplets for Single-Molecule-Counting Immunoassays.”, ACS Nano7, 5955–5964. •  http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nn401661d



For a full list of publications, see: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9227-4110



Nucleic acids chemistry, multiplexed assays, single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, synthesis of modified oligonucleotides, molecular diagnostics