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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Understanding cerebral malaria: novel molecular insights into a sticky problem
The structure of a complex between a PfEMP1 domain (green) and the human receptor ICAM-1 (blue) Why do the most debilitating cases of malaria affect the brain, leading to cerebral disease? This important question has been addressed in a recent paper from Frank Lennartz and Matt Higgins, working with colleagues at the University of Copenhagen Published: 23 March 2017
Checking the checkpoint: Revealing the structure of an elusive quality control enzyme
Checking the Checkpoint The structure of an important enzyme that oversees the secretion of thousands of secreted glycoproteins has been solved by a fruitful collaborative effort between the Department of Biochemistry and Diamond Light Source in Oxford, and two Italian research institutes Published: 27 July 2017
Undergraduate Prize Announcements 2017
Undergraduate Prizes The Undergraduate prizes for 2017 have been announced, for Parts I and II. The prizes are for examination performance, research projects, lab group contribution, a specific immunology prize and performance in practicals / data handling Published: 6 July 2017
Peter Beaconsfield Prizes for Two of Our Young Researchers
Sarah-Beth and Thomas Sarah-Beth Amos (from the Sansom group) has won the 2017 Peter Beaconsfield Prize in Physiological Sciences and Thomas Dixon (from the McLain group) has won the Runner-up prize. Published: 4 July 2017

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Mark Sansom, 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 Mark Sansom, Head of Department

News Highlight

The final step in bacterial lipoprotein maturation: structures, simulations and molecular mechanisms of apolipoprotein N-acyl transferase (Lnt).

Figure 1: Structure and topology of Lnt (Click to Enlarge)

Gram-negative bacteria express numerous lipoproteins on their outer membrane. These proteins serve vital roles in bacteria and contribute to pathogenicity and antibiotic resistance. Understanding how lipoproteins are made will pave the way to develop new antibiotics.

Lipoproteins are synthesized in a precursor form which undergoes further post-translational modifications to form a mature protein. Three key enzymes, Lgt, LspA and Lnt, act sequentially to attach lipids to these proteins. These enzymes are present in many disease-causing bacteria, but are absent in humans, thus making them valuable drug targets.

Dr Phillip Stansfeld, in collaboration with the group of Prof Martin Caffrey at Trinity College, Dublin, recently solved and simulated the structure of LspA, the second enzyme in the lipoprotein maturation pathway (1). They have now, in association with the groups of Dr Meitian Wang and Prof Nienke Buddelmeijer, published details of the third and final enzyme, Lnt, in Nature Communications (2).

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Keep in touch with the Department


SBCB Seminar Series Sophie Williams, 'Building a pore: Apicomplexan pore forming proteins and their interactions with membranes' Thursday 24th Aug, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Seminar Dr. Haruhiko Koseki, 'Meis2 activation by Kdm2b-containing complexes' Monday 4th Sep, 13:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Dr Jennifer Johnston, 'SBCB Guest Seminar' Thursday 7th Sep, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Infection and Disease Processes Seminar Series Professor Ana Fernandez-Sesma, 'Modulation of innate immunity by dengue virus: feeling the STING' Monday 11th Sep, 11:30 Howard Schneiderman Room (third floor), Glycobiology Institute, Rodney Porter Building

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Athena Swan Silver Award