Biochemistry and Biotechnology


Our research looks at how biological molecules lead to cellular function and mis-function. We also have a strong focus on translating basic research into applied biotechnology; biological systems are exploited to develop new techniques, technologies, processes and products for use beyond academia. We have a history of spin-out companies based on the research done by teams in our department and regularly form collaborations with industrial partners. See our Industrial Links page for more information.

Biochemistry and biotechnology research in our department at a glance:

  • Biochemistry - nucleic acid chemistry, antigens, antibodies, leucocytes
  • Biotechnology - bioenergy, diagnostics, bioremediation
  • Microbiology - S. aureus vaccines, biofuels, fermentation
  • Structural biology - protein folding, amyloidosis, ligand binding, protein mobility and molecular recognition

For further information and research opportunities, please see the staff page of individual researchers below:


Dr Patrick Baker

Director Of Studies and Deputy Head of Department

Room: D5e/D14a
0114 222 2725

Use of protein crystallography to study the structure/function relationships in biological macromolecules, including substrate specificity and chiral synthesis in enzymes and the molecular basis of stability in proteins from extremophiles.


Prof Sherif El-Khamisy

Director of Research and Innovation

Room: C7b
0114 222 2791

Mammalian genome stability in health and disease. Head of the human DNA repair group aiming to understand how defects in repairing DNA damage cause degenerative disorders, cancer and ageing.



Prof Simon Foster

Room: F18a
0114 222 4411

Bacterial cell wall structure, function and dynamics in the stress resistance and pathogenesis of the frequently hospital-acquired, multi-antibiotic resistant Gram-positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.



Dr Jim Gilmour

Room: F3a
0114 222 4412

Molecular biology of life in extreme environments, especially high salinity and low temperature environments. Bioremediation of polluted groundwater systems. Use of microalgae to produce sustainable biofuels.



Prof Jeff Green

Room: F10a
0114 222 4403

The regulation of bacterial transcription in response to changes in oxygen availability, and to oxidative and nitrosative stress; iron-sulphur proteins as regulators; role of CRP-FNR family transcription factors in bacterial stress responses.



Prof David Hornby

Room: F9a
0114 222 4232

Methodology in protein and nucleic acid biochemistry; developing analytical methods for genomics and proteomics, expanding the functional repertoire of natural macromolecular assemblies, remodelling enzymes and toxins.


Dr Bin Hu

University Research Fellow

Room: E18a
0114 222 2715

Eukaryotic cell cycle regulation, with particular focus on protein-DNA interactions in chromosomes and how cells incorporate environmental signals into cell proliferation and how cells make a decision on growth or death upon environmental stress.


Prof Neil Hunter FRS

Krebs Chair in Biochemistry

Room: E14a
0114 222 4191

Biogenesis, structure, function and nanotechnology of photosynthetic membrane proteins from phototrophic bacteria and plants. Enzymology of the chlorophyll and carotenoid biosynthesis pathways.



Dr Ling Chin Hwang

Room: E10
0114 222 2847

Multidisciplinary techniques such as single-molecule imaging, synthetic biology, biochemistry and microfluidics to study the molecular mechanisms of spatial organization in bacteria, such as cell division and chromosome segregation.


Prof Dave Kelly

Room: F1a
0114 222 4414

Molecular physiology and pathogenicity of the food-borne human pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. Transport and metabolic pathways in the versatile phototrophic purple bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris.



Dr Phil Mitchell

Room: E21a
0114 222 2821

Building on the discovery and characterisation of the exosome ribonuclease complex (Mitchell et al., 1997; Allmang et al., 1999), my lab’s research addresses the molecular mechanisms of RNA quality control in eukaryotic cells.



Dr Lynda Partridge

Room: E7a
0114 222 4185

Human leucocyte antigens, specifically the structure and function of tetraspanins, a conserved family of mammalian transmembrane proteins. Role of tetraspanins in bacterial infection. Monoclonal antibody technology for research and medicine.



Dr John Rafferty

Room: D8a
0114 222 2809

Structural study of proteins and DNA primarily by X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy to gain 3D insights of biological macromolecules and their assemblies. Structure and function relationships.


Dr Rosie Staniforth

Room: D7a
0114 222 2761

Structural and mechanistic studies on the mechanism of amyloid fibril formation, the precursor to neurodegenrative conditions including Alzheimer's disease.



Dr Milton Wainwright

Room: G11
0114 222 4410

Isolation of microorganisms from the stratosphere; mainly in relation to the theory of neopanspermia, i.e. the view that microbes are currently arriving on Earth from space.


Prof Jon Waltho

Gibson Chair in Biophysics

Room: B108
0114 222 2717

Application of multidimensional NMR methods to solving protein structures, complex formation, kinetics, protein molecular recognition and transition states, particularly in kinases.



Prof Mike Williamson

Room: B110
0114 222 4224

Protein structure determination, protein mobility and interactions with ligands by 2D and 3D NMR. Targets include bacterial pathogenesis proteins and human disease-state proteins.