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
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Research Themes

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Image: Christian Lesterlin

Our Research Themes reflect the broad areas in which we have particular strengths and interests. All research groups have a primary affiliation to one theme but many work in areas that fall under another theme, reflected in a secondary affiliation.

The themes help to foster and strengthen interactions between groups working on related research areas, through seminars and other events. They are also intended to provide a framework for academic leadership and research mentoring to early career academics, postdoctoral researchers and students.

Cell Biology, Development and Genetics

Chromosomal and RNA Biology

Infection and Disease Processes

Microbiology and Systems Biology

Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics

 

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Image: Eva Wegel

Cell Biology, Development and Genetics

Associate Head of Department: Jonathan Hodgkin

Francis Barr, Martin Cohn, Lynne Cox, Penny Handford, Jonathan Hodgkin, Mark Howarth, Petros Ligoxygakis, Shabaz Mohammed, Catherine Pears, Alison Woollard (primary affiliation)

Ben Berks, Andre Furger, Rob Klose, Nick Lakin, Jane Mellor, Bela Novak, Matthew Whitby (secondary affiliation)

We use model organisms and in vitro approaches to explore a wide range of processes pertinent to cell biology. Many of the groups have an interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling cell proliferation, differentiation and cell fate determination in the context of development. We also study processes regulating cell division and polarisation, immunity, and cell senescence, as well as developing and applying bio-nanotechnology and proteomic approaches for cell biological purposes.

 

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Image: Lothar Schermelleh

Chromosomal and RNA Biology

Associate Head of Department: Neil Brockdorff

Neil Brockdorff, Alfredo Castello, Ilan Davis, Andre Furger, Rob Klose, Nick Lakin, Louis Mahadevan, Jane Mellor, Kim Nasmyth, Lothar Schermelleh, David Sherratt, Lidia Vasilieva, Matthew Whitby (primary affiliation)

Francis Barr, Lynne Cox, Alison Woollard (secondary affiliation)

We study many aspects of chromosomal and RNA biology, from the behaviour of chromosomes and RNA, to gene regulation including chromatin remodelling, epigenetic modifications, non-coding RNA and post-transcriptional control mechanisms.  We are also interested in the processes of DNA repair and recombination. Amongst the approaches we use to answer questions in these areas are various deep sequencing technologies (NET-seq, ChIP-seq, RNA-seq) and advanced optical imaging, including live cell imaging.

 

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Image: Jonathan Hodgkin

Infection and Disease Processes

Associate Head of Department: Nicole Zitzmann

Bungo Akiyoshi, Max Crispin, Raymond Dwek, David Harris, Matt Higgins, John Vakonakis, Mark Wormald, Nicole Zitzmann (primary affiliation)

Phil Biggin, Martin Cohn, Jonathan Hodgkin, Jason Schnell (secondary affiliation)

We study a wide range of biological problems of relevance to viral and parasitic infections and disease processes. With a strong interest in glycoprotein-focused research, including the development of antivirals and other therapeutics, we run many collaborative projects with support from industry and global health funders. We are also interested in using structural and cell biological approaches to understand malaria, trypanosomatid diseases and DNA repair disorders. 

 

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Image: Sheng-Wen Chiu

Microbiology and Systems Biology

Associate Head of Department: Judith Armitage

Andrew Angel, Judith Armitage, Ben Berks, Stuart Ferguson, Colin Kleanthous, Bela Novak, George Wadhams (primary affilliation)

Phil Biggin, Colin Kleanthous, Simon Newstead, Christina Redfield, Mark Sansom, David Sherratt (secondary affiliation)

We are interested in the proteins, networks and pathways that underlie many fundamental processes in eukaryotes and bacteria including the cell cycle, chromosomal dynamics, signalling and motility, respiration and protein transport. We seek to be able to explain these using a combination of experimental, computational and mathematical tools, at scales ranging from atomic resolution through molecules to whole systems. We also have an interest in using synthetic biology to enhance and exploit functions.

 

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Image: Caroline Dahl using Bendix

Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics

Associate Head of Department: Mark Sansom

Phil Biggin, Elspeth Garman, Sylvia McLain, Simon Newstead, Christina Redfield, Mark Sanson, Jason Schnell, Elena Seiradake, Anthony Watts (primary affiliation)

Judith Armitage, Ben Berks, Raymond Dwek, Penny Handford, Colin Kleanthous, Lothar Schermelleh, Mark Wormald, Nicole Zitzmann (secondary affiliation)

We are interested in exploring the relationship between structure and function in proteins and other macromolecules using a range of methods such as X-ray crystallography, NMR, and biophysical and computational approaches. A particular focus within this theme is on understanding the structure, biophysics and function of membrane proteins, important in health and disease, including their behaviour in a physiologically relevant context.

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