Department of Biochemistry University of Oxford Department of Biochemistry
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3QU

Tel: +44 (0)1865 613200
Fax: +44 (0)1865 613201
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The alphabetical world of crystal structures
Selected protein crystal structures from the PDB in cartoon format and alphabetical order, overlaid on a diffraction image (provided by E. Lowe), with a central bright-field image of a protein crystal Mark Howarth's new protein alphabet takes an unusual slant on the shapes of proteins Published: 30 June 2015
Molecular details of centriole assembly emerge from new research
The centriolar protein SAS-6 of C. elegans assembles into a spiral oligomer with 4.5-fold symmetry per turn (viewed from above) A new paper in eLife, from John Vakonakis and colleagues, sheds light on an essential component of centriole assembly Published: 8 June 2015
Former Biochemistry student wins top CRUK prize
Anca Farcas Anca Farcas, former DPhil student with Rob Klose, is the joint winner of CRUK's 2014 Pontecorvo Prize Published: 28 May 2015

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Athena Swan Bronze Award


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Mark Sansom, Head of Department

Welcome to the Department of Biochemistry, part of the University of Oxford's Medical Sciences Division. We are one of the largest Biochemistry departments in the world and carry out world-class research and teaching. Our researchers come from a range of disciplines and work in a collaborative environment on all aspects of modern molecular and cellular biochemistry. We hope you enjoy reading more about our activities on these pages.

Professor Mark Sansom, Head of Department

News Highlight

All change for bacterial outer membrane proteins

Structures of two colicins bound to the OMP receptors that were tracked in the present work

Structures of two colicins bound to the OMP receptors that were tracked in the present work (Click to enlarge)

The discovery of how a group of bacteria can rapidly adapt to changing growth conditions could have implications for future antibiotic development.

The findings come from a long-standing project between Colin Kleanthous at the University of Oxford and Christoph Baumann at the University of York. Together with lead author Patrice Rassam and key collaborators Mark Sansom at Oxford and Jacob Piehler at the University of Osnabrück, they describe their work in a paper in Nature (1).

Gram-negative bacteria are a major cause of disease, in part because they have a robust outer membrane that protects against the immune system and certain antibiotics. They can live in a broad range of environments, which for E.coli includes river water as well as humans and animals.

The bacteria have intricate regulatory mechanisms for ensuring they have the right complement of outer membrane proteins – known as OMPs – for a particular habitat. But little is known about how OMPs are replaced in the outer membrane when large scale remodelling of these proteins has to occur on adapting to changes in growth conditions.

The new research describes how bacteria are able to change the proteins in their outer membrane and how this is intimately linked to the process of protein insertion in the membrane.

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PhD Studentships

Studentships Available EPSRC 4 Year Industrial CASE Studentship EPSRC CASE Studentship DSTL-funded Studentship


Departmental Event Professor Adrian Hill, '12th Medical Sciences Division DPhil Day' Thursday 9th Jul All day Tingewick Hall and Lecture Theatre 2, John Radcliffe Hospital ,


Keep in touch with the Department


SBCB Seminar Anna Duncan, 'Clustering of Inward Rectifier Potassium (Kir) Channels in Complex Membranes' Thursday 9th Jul, 14:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Biochemistry Department Seminar Dr. Angelika Grundling, 'tbc' Monday 27th Jul, 13:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Departmental Seminar Professor Hironori Funabiki, 'TBA' Friday 4th Sep, 11:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Departmental Seminar Professor Keith Caldecott, 'TBC' Monday 7th Sep, 13:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building

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