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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News

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
Biochemistry Department spinout uses biochemical superglue to develop next generation vaccines
Alt Text SpyBiotech, a Department of Biochemistry spinout using a molecular superglue for rapid development of vaccines targeting a range of diseases, secures 4m seed funding at launch led by Oxford Sciences Innovation with participation from GV Published: 31 March 2017
Novitski Prize for Jonathan Hodgkin
Alt Text Professor Jonathan Hodgkin has been awarded the prestigious Edward Novitski prize for 2017 by the Genetics Society of America, in recognition of his "extraordinary creativity and intellectual ingenuity in solving significant problems in genetics research" Published: 24 March 2017
Biochemistry at 'Back From The Dead'
Alt Text Volunteers from the Biochemistry Department have just completed a highly successful series of hands on events at the Museum of the History of Science as part of their "Back from the Dead" education program Published: 23 March 2017

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Welcome

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

How a group of conserved proteins orchestrate transcription termination in eukaryotes

Figure 1. Homologous CID-containing proteins from budding yeast (S.cerevisiae) and fission yeast (S.pombe) with the conserved regions CID and RRM shown

Figure 1. Homologous CID-containing proteins from budding yeast (S.cerevisiae) and fission yeast (S.pombe) with the conserved regions CID and RRM shown (Click to Enlarge)

A paper published in Nature Communications by Lidia Vasilieva's group in collaboration with researchers at the Division of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford (STRUBI) and the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, sheds light on how a group of conserved proteins orchestrate transcription termination in eukaryotes (1).

Unexpectedly, their study also reveals that fission yeast, and possibly other eukaryotes, use a different mechanism from the model eukaryote budding yeast to regulate non-coding transcripts.

Figure 2. The structure of the Seb1 RNA-binding region, solved by X-ray crystallography and to 1.0 resolution. The canonical RRM domain is shown in blue and the second domain in green

All steps of transcription - initiation, elongation and termination - are tightly controlled. In eukaryotes, this control is directly coupled to RNA polymerase II (Pol II), a multi-protein complex whose largest subunit has a long C-terminal domain (CTD) with multiple repeats that are conserved across organisms. Many of the residues in the repeat can be reversibly phosphorylated and this is known to regulate key events during the transcription cycle. A conserved group of proteins required for transcription regulation are the CTD readers.

These bind to phosphorylated residues on the CTD, in some cases via a conserved CTD-interacting domain (CID), but it is not fully understood how they mediate CTD function is regulating transcription.

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Seminars

SBCB Seminar Series Dr Matthew Cheetham, 'Anomalous Diffusion in Artificial Lipid Bilayers' Thursday 27th Apr, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBMB Seminar Series Ella Wells, Katie Nichols, Amrit Bal, Sophie Rennison, 'Part II Talks' Friday 28th Apr, 11:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Biochemistry Department Seminar Dr Damon Huber, 'The way is the goal: recognition and targeting of proteins by the Sec translocation machinery in bacteria' Tuesday 2nd May, 11:00 Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Dr Teresa Paramo Prieto, 'SBCB seminar' Thursday 4th May, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building


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Athena Swan Silver Award