We are developing single molecule manipulation techniques and neutron diffraction to explore the physics of living systems. These powerful techniques are used to study biomolecular self-assembly and the structure and dynamics of molecules in aqueous solutions, in both simple and complex systems. The Dougan Group is based in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds. Its members are also part of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology. We gratefully acknowledge funding from the EPSRC, BBSRC and ERC.