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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Mediating gene activation during development
FBXL19 is essential for embryonic development In new work published in the journal eLIFE, the Klose lab have uncovered a previously unknown molecular mechanism that controls how certain genes are turned on as cells undergo specialisation, or lineage commitment, during development Published: 7 June 2018
Awards for the Cox lab at UK ageing conference
Hannah Walters and Adam Rolt Two members of Professor Lynne Cox's lab were awarded top prizes at the 68th annual scientific meeting of the British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA) last week Published: 17 September 2018
Patryk Ludzia wins a Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD fellowship
Alt Text Patryk Ludzia, a DPhil student in Bungo Akiyoshi's group, has been awarded a prestigious Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to outstanding junior scientists who wish to pursue an ambitious PhD project in basic biomedical research in an internationally leading laboratory Published: 6 August 2018
Prof Judith Armitage elected next President of The Microbiology Society
Prof Judith Armitage Professor Judith Armitage has been elected the next President of The Microbiology Society. She will take up the 3 year office in January 2019. Published: 16 July 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

Water-bridging as an essential component for initiating protein folding

The mechanism by which proteins fold from their primary sequence, encoded by DNA, into their specific three dimensional functional structure is still not understood. In nature, this process occurs spontaneously, and relatively quickly, and in water. While there must be an interplay between the specific sequence of the protein and the surrounding water solvent for folding to occur in nature, there is still an ongoing debate concerning how water molecules aid in driving folding. One difficulties in investigating the role of water in this process is because naturally occurring proteins fold rapidly and as a result, it is difficult to observe proteins in the process of folding, especially in the initial stages, by many experimental techniques.

Image Caption

Figure 1 showing the water bridge in KGPGK

A recent publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society from research performed in the McLain Group from DPhil student Nicola Steinke, has focused on investigating the roles that both water and the primary amino acid sequence have in initiating β-turn formation in solution. By using a combination of techniques which provide information at the atomic level - neutron and X-ray diffraction and computer simulations - the interplay between conformation and hydration for five KGXGK peptides (with X=P,G,S or L) in the process of folding has been determined.

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Postgraduate Courses

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Departmental Event 'Postdoctoral Retreat 2018' Friday 21st Sep All day


Keep in touch with the Department


Departmental Seminar Dr Maria Harkiolaki, 'Correlative soft-X ray cryo-tomography and super resolution fluorescence microscopy imaging for the life sciences at Diamond Light Source beamline B24.' Friday 21st Sep, 13:00 Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Special Seminar Dr. Fanni Gergely, 'Centrosomes: ubiquitious organelles with tissue-specific functions?' Wednesday 26th Sep, 10:30 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building
Special Seminar 'Biochem to billions Pitching and investing event: (only members of the Department can attend)' Wednesday 26th Sep, 14:00 Main Meeting Room, New Biochemistry Building
Biochemistry Department Seminar Various Speakers, 'Graduate Student Induction' Thursday 27th Sep, 8:30 Main Seminar Room, New Biochemistry Building

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Athena Swan Silver Award