Dr Charlie Scarff

Dr Charlie Scarff


I am a British Heart Foundation Jacqueline Murray Coomber Fellow and University Academic Fellow in Structural Biology in the Leeds Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Leeds, UK and a member of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.

I obtained a BSc in Computational Biology in 2006 and a PhD in Biological Sciences, in 2010, from the University of Warwick, UK.  In my PhD studies, I explored how structural mass spectrometry-based approaches could be used to study macromolecular complex structure and dynamics. I then moved to the University of Leeds as a postdoctoral researcher, applying structural mass spectrometry to the understanding of amyloid assembly, working with Prof. Alison Ashcroft and Prof. Sheena Radford FRS, and subsequently studying muscle proteins by use of electron microscopy, with Prof. John Trinick. Through this work an interest in muscle, myosin and inherited heart disease grew and I realised how I could contribute to this research area through an integrative structural biology approach. I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund Fellowship in 2017 to explore this avenue of research and this now forms the focus of my current BHF fellowship, awarded in 2020; studying the structural basis of inherited heart disease by mass spectrometry, biochemical analysis and cryo-electron microscopy. In 2022, I was appointed a University Academic Fellow in Structural Biology in the Leeds Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine.


  • Academic Lead for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in LICAMM

Research interests

My research interests are in understanding structural-functional relationships in muscle, myosin and how defects in muscle proteins lead to cardiovascular disease. We use an integrative structural biology approach to study this, primarily combining cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and mutational analyses with modelling. We are also passionate about the development of integrative structural biology methods for the study of cardiovascular disease as technology drives research. Our current focus is on studying how mutations in two muscle proteins, beta-cardiac myosin and myosin-binding protein C, lead to the inherited heart disease hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We also have an interest in dilated cardiomyopathy, diabetic cardiomyopathy and the effects of glycation on muscle proteins, and structure-based drug design. This research will lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underpin heart disease, and it is our hope that this will pave the way to better therapies in the future.



  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Association of Inherited Cardiac Conditions
  • Member of the British Biophysical Society
  • Member of the Biochemical Society
  • Member of the British Mass Spectrometry Society

Student education

Tutor and Proteins Topic Lead for Introduction to Medical Sciences (MEDI1216)

Lecturer on Advanced Research Topics Module, FBS (BMSC5301M)

Lecturer on Human Disease Module, FBS (BIOL22011)

Research groups and institutes

  • Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre
  • LICAMM - international PhD academy
  • Discovery and Translational Science
  • Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1985-developing-live-cell-crosslinking-mass-spectrometry-methods-to-investigate-cardiac-myosin-folding-and-disease">Developing live cell crosslinking mass spectrometry methods to investigate cardiac myosin folding and disease</a></li>