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
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

Assembling a protein transporter

How can you obtain high resolution structural information about protein complexes when you cannot determine the structure directly by techniques such as X-ray crystallography? This was the problem faced by Ben Berks' group in their work on the Tat protein transport system.

(Fig 1.) High precision evolutionary contacts between Tat proteins predict subunit packing interfaces. Reproduced from [4].

(Fig 1.) High precision evolutionary contacts between Tat proteins predict subunit packing interfaces. Reproduced from [4].
(Click to enlarge)

Bacteria use the Tat pathway to export folded proteins across their cell membrane. Tat transport is catalysed by three small membrane proteins called TatA, TatB, and TatC. During the transport cycle multiple copies of each of these proteins come together to transiently form the protein transporter [1]. Berks and collaborators have previously determined the structures of the individual Tat components [2,3]. However, they did not know how these individual proteins assemble together in the translocation machine. Without this information it would be very difficult to understand how the transporter works. Unfortunately the Tat complexes are exceedingly challenging to work with and attempts to determine their structures by standard techniques have so far been unsuccessful. A novel approach was therefore required to determine the inter-protein contacts within the Tat apparatus.

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Postgraduate Courses

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for admission in October 2017

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Keep in touch with the Department


Biochemistry Department Seminar Professor A.P. Waters, 'Gams to go: establishing and exploiting experimentally inducible sexual development in a malaria parasite' Monday 16th Jan, 13:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Infection and Disease Processes Seminar Series Professor Neelika Malavig, 'Investigating potential drug targets to prevent vascular leak in acute dengue' Wednesday 18th Jan, 11:00 Howard Schneiderman Room (third floor), Glycobiology Institute, Rodney Porter Building
Special Seminar Dr Matthias Soller, 'Orchestrating mRNA processing in sex determination, neuronal development and function' Wednesday 18th Jan, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Jan Domanski, 'Confirm or deny: converged association energies for membrane helix-helix dimers' Thursday 19th Jan, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building

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Athena Swan Silver Award