Research in Structural Biology

research collage
The Structural Studies Group uses the four complementary techniques of X-ray protein crystallography, of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), of cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM), and of bioinformatics to explore systems of fundamental and medical importance in atomic detail.

X-ray protein crystallography

NMR spectroscopy

Electron microscopy


Facility Managers

  • X-ray Dr Patrick Baker
  • NMR Andrea Hounslow
  • EM Dr Svetomir Tzokov

Research themes

Protein : nucleic acid interactions.

The structural analysis of interactions between nucleic acids and proteins will enable the understanding of fundamental molecular processes by which proteins manage the genetic information encoded in DNA and RNA.

Protein dynamics

Understanding the kinetic and thermodynamic parameters that govern the folding, stability and conformational flexibility of proteins is vital if we are to offer explanations and ultimately design therapeutic approaches for the protein folding diseases.

Molecular Recognition and Catalysis

Our work is aimed at understanding the detailed physical and stereochemical events that drive catalytic processes at the active sites of protein and nucleic acid enzymes including the role of dynamics in catalysis, the design of enzyme inhibitors and the molecular basis of the catalytic properties of key enzymes.


In close collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Information Studies we are involved in the development of new computational methods for structure analysis, drug design, and the understanding of molecular evolution.

Structural genomics, drug design and disease

We are involved in structural genomics initiatives aimed at determining the structures of key proteins which are the targets for the development of novel antibiotics.

Membrane proteins

Many of the most important biological processes occur at the interface between the cell and its external environment- the cell membrane. Knowledge of the structures of membrane proteins is therefore of crucial importance in medicine, as aberrant function in these types of molecules lead to many disease states.