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
Collage of Drosophila third instar larva optic lobe
Lu Yang, Davis lab
First year Biochemistry students at a practical class
Image showing the global movement of lipids in a model planar membrane
Matthieu Chavent, Sansom lab
Anaphase bridges in fission yeast cells
Whitby lab
Lactose permease represented using bending cylinders in Bendix software
Caroline Dahl, Sansom lab
Epithelial cells in C. elegans showing a seam cell that failed to undergo cytokinesis
Serena Ding, Woollard lab
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iGem Gold Medal Award
iGem Logo The Oxford iGem team achieved a GOLD MEDAL again this year for the third time, and now in every year a team from this Department has entered. This year the competition attracted over 300 teams and over 3000 students from all over the world. Published: 7 November 2016
Bungo Akiyoshi awarded EMBO Young Investigator
Dr Bungo Akiyoshi Dr Bungo Akiyoshi, has been elected into the 2017 EMBO Young Investigator Programme, which supports researchers under the age of 40 who have established their first research labs within the past four years Published: 20 October 2016
Postdoc wins Korenchevsky award at British Society for Research on Ageing Annual meeting
Karolina Chocian Karolina Chocian (Woollard lab) won the Korenchevsky award at this summer's BSRA meeting in Durham for her talk entitled "Dose dependent functions for chromatin modifiers in regulating lifespan" Published: 14 September 2016

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Francis Barr, Head of Department

The Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford is a centre for world class research and teaching of all aspects of Biochemistry by staff from many different backgrounds and nationalities. Our research addresses a wide range of questions relating to the fundamental basis of all cellular life from man to microbes. This work explains the structures and functions of proteins and nucleic acids, and in doing so addresses the mechanisms of many human diseases. Using this knowledge, other researchers aim to create new vaccines, antiviral and antibacterial therapies to protect and treat humans across the world.

You can read more about the details of our current work and other aspects of the department, including undergraduate teaching and public outreach activities, on these web pages.

Professor Francis Barr, Head of Department

News Highlight

Enzyme structure offers new hopes for better antivirals

The structure of a cellular enzyme that is crucial for the survival of many pathogenic viruses has been solved in a new study.

(Fig 1.) Crystal structure of mouse a-glucosidase II in cartoon representation.

Crystal structure of mouse α-glucosidase II in cartoon representation.

Nicole Zitzmann and members of her team, together with colleagues from Italy and France, have published their findings in PNAS (1). Their work on the enzyme, a key component of the quality control machinery that ensures that glycoproteins fold properly, opens the way for the development of potent and selective antivirals against a range of deadly diseases.

Proteins of all the major human pathogenic viruses, including Zika, dengue, influenza and Ebola, are dependent upon the host cell machinery that controls glycoproteins passing through the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). After the glycoprotein enters the ER, whether it is viral or cellular, it passes through a set of enzymes that modify its glycan chains and help it to fold properly. This is known as the calnexin cycle - calnexin, a component of the cycle, is a lectin that holds the glycoprotein so that it can fold properly. If the glycoprotein is not correctly folded on its first cycle, it must pass round the cycle again. ER α-glucosidase I and II (α-GluI and α-GluII), which sequentially remove glucose from N-linked glycans on glycoproteins, and UGGT, are the main enzymatic players in the cycle.

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Postgraduate Courses

Open for applications
for admission in October 2017

Available Studentships


Keep in touch with the Department


Biochemistry Department Seminar 'Regulatory feedback from nascent RNA to transcription and chromatin modification' Thursday 8th Dec, 13:00 Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Dr Phillip Stansfeld, 'Modelling and Dynamics of Molecular Processes at the Membrane' Thursday 8th Dec, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBMB Seminar Series Felipe Ossa, Tom Dixon, 'SBMB Seminars' Friday 9th Dec, 11:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Microbiology and Systems Biology (MSB) seminars, Department of Biochemistry George Wadhams, Christopher Jones, 'MSB seminar' Monday 12th Dec, 11:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building

All Seminars

Athena Swan Silver Award