Dr Adele Williamson

Adele Williamson

Research Fellow

About Adele

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Research Supervised


  • Rzoska-Smith, Elizabeth (in progress). Repair eXtreme- DNA repair proteins from Antarctic extremophiles.
  • Johansen, Greta (University of Tromsø; in progress- chief supervisor Hanna-Kirsti Leiros): Title- TBC.
  • Berg, Kristel (University of Tromsø; in progress- chief supervisor Ingar Leiros): DNA modifying proteins of Arctic bacteria (TBC).


  • Pan, Jolyn (in progress).
  • Kirkby, Bronwyn (in progress).
  • Steele, Mckenzie (in progress- Chief supervisor Vic Arcus).


  • Hansen, Kristin (University of Tromsø; 2011- chief supervisor Arne Smalås): Study of a putative DNA ligase and putative nitrilase.

BSc (project)

  • Burkow, Magnus (University of Tromsø; 2018): Recombinant expression and purification of bacterial ATP-dependent DNA ligases.
  • Hansen, Kristin (University of Tromsø; 2010): Cloning, small scale expression and purification of two putative protein coding genes from a metagenomic library.

Exchange Students

  • Fernandes, Andreia (2019)- ITQB NOVA, Portugal.
  • Roudaut, Kévin (2017)- IUT de Saint-Brieuc, France.
  • Pinuer, Luis  (2017)- CeBiB, Chile.

Research Interests

I am interested in enzymes involved in novel DNA repair pathways in bacteria, and use a combination of bioinformatics, recombinant protein production, biochemical and biophysical assays and X-ray crystallography to characterize these systems.

I currently lead a Marsden Fast-Start project investigating DNA repair enzymes encoded in the metagenomes of Antarctic microbiota from the Antarctic Dry valleys: one of the harshest places on earth with little water, high UV intensities and, multiple daily cycles of freezing and thawing, all of which are extremely damaging to DNA.

Other research interests include the DNA repair pathways of cultivatable bacteria that use ATP-dependent DNA ligases, and in particular potential involvement of these pathways in uptake of extrinsic DNA or other routes to acquiring antibiotic resistance.

I am also involved in ongoing projects using psychrophilic DNA-modifying enzymes for biotechnological applications in collaboration with the University of Tromsø in northern Norway.

Recent Publications

  • Williamson, A., & Leiros, H. K. S. (2020). Structural insight into DNA joining: from conserved mechanisms to diverse scaffolds. Nucleic Acids Research, 48(15), 8225-8242. doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa307

  • Sharma, J. K., Stevenson, L. J., Robins, K. J., Williamson, A. K., Patrick, W. M., & Ackerley, D. F. (2020). Methods for competitive enrichment and evaluation of superior DNA ligases. In Methods in Enzymology. doi:10.1016/bs.mie.2020.04.061

  • Williamson, A., & Leiros, H. K. S. (2019). Structural intermediates of a DNA-ligase complex illuminate the role of the catalytic metal ion and mechanism of phosphodiester bond formation. Nucleic acids research, 47(14), 7147-7162. doi:10.1093/nar/gkz596

  • Berg, K., Leiros, I., & Williamson, A. (2019). Temperature adaptation of DNA ligases from psychrophilic organisms. Extremophiles, 23(3), 305-317. doi:10.1007/s00792-019-01082-y

Find more research publications by Adele Williamson


Bacteria; Biochemistry; Biotechnology

DNA repair, Psychrophilic enzymes, Metagenomics, Extremophiles

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: C.2.14
Phone: x 4688