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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New paper shows how transcription terminates with the help of a phosphatase
The Vasilieva Group New research from Lidia Vasilieva's lab sheds light on how transcription termination in eukaryotes is controlled. The findings are published in Cell Reports and demonstrate that conserved mechanisms are used at different steps of transcription Published: 7th November 2018
iGem Gold Medal Award
The Oxford iGEM team 2018 The 2018 Undergraduate Oxford iGEM team have just returned from Boston with a Gold medal and the award for Best Therapeutics Project along with three other award nominations. The iGEM competition gives interdisciplinary teams of students the opportunity to push the boundaries of synthetic biology whilst tackling everyday issues facing the world Published: 7 November 2018
DNA repair pathway to come under further scrutiny with new funding
David Lopez Martinez Martin Cohn and his DPhil student David Lopez Martinez have secured funding to enable them to continue to explore how an important DNA damage pathway is regulated. The funding for a MRC transition fellowship will support David as he moves from DPhil to postdoc position Published: 18 October 2018
"The Bacterial World" at the Oxford Natural History Museum
Alt Text An exhibition "The Bacterial World" opens at the Oxford Natural History Museum this Friday and runs until May. It is curated by Judy Armitage with lots of input from Kevin Foster and lots of other bacteriologists around the University. Published: 16 October 2018

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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

A record-breaking beta barrel allows protein transport across the bacterial outer membrane

New research from the Berks (Biochemistry) and Lea (Pathology) groups reveals how proteins are transported across the outer membrane of bacteria responsible for severe dental disease (peridontitis). This work, which is published in Nature [1,2], has uncovered an enormous transmembrane beta barrel structure through which the proteins move.

Movies. Electron microscopy density of the PorV (left) and Plug (right) Type 9 protein translocon complexes. The SprA protein is Rainbows coloured, partner proteins are grey. Specular density shows the position of the detergent micelle surrounding the translocon. The complexes are viewed in the same orientation as the Figure below. Movies courtesy of Susan Lea.

Pathogenic bacteria must be able to secrete proteins in order to manipulatetheir host organism. Major oral pathogens in the phylum Bacteroidetes, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, export these proteins across two cell membranes. Protein transport across the outer membrane in these bacteria utilises the recently discovered Type IX Secretion System (T9SS).

All protein transport systems have to provide an aqueous pathway across the otherwise hydrophobic membrane bilayer. However, for the T9SS it was unknown which proteins build this protein conducting pathway, or translocon. A joint effort by Drs. Frédéric Lauber and Justin Deme working in the Berks and Lea groups has now identified the translocon and determined its structure in two mechanistically relevant states.

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Comp Chem Kitchen Cambridge Structural Database, 'CCK-14: Hackathon-2' Thursday 13th Dec, 10:00 Computer Suite in the basement, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series Keith Cassidy, 'Adventures in the modelling of bacterial chemosensory arrays' Thursday 13th Dec, 14:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
SBCB Seminar Series 'Determining the mechanism behind cholesterol-dependent GPCR signaling: Simulation and experiment' Wednesday 19th Dec, 15:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Rodney Porter Memorial Lecture Professor Ian A. Wilson, D.Phil, D.Sc, FRS, FRSE, 'Title TBC' Tuesday 9th Apr, 16:00 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building

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Athena Swan Silver Award