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:

bakerpDr Patrick Baker

Director of Studies
Deputy Head of Department

Room: D5d
Tel: 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.

el-khamisysProfessor Sherif El-Khamisy

Professor of Molecular Medicine
Director of Research and Innovation

Room: C7b
Tel: 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.

fostersProfessor Simon Foster

Professor of Molecular Microbiology

Room: F18a
Tel: 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.

gilmourjDr Jim Gilmour

Senior Lecturer

Room: F3a
Tel: 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.

greenjProfessor Jeff Green

Professor of Microbiology

Room: F10a
Tel: 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.

hornbydProfessor David Hornby

Professor of Biochemistry

Room: F22a
Tel: 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.

hubDr Bin Hu

Research Fellow

Room: E18a
Tel: 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.

hwanglDr Ling Chin Hwang


Room: F09a
Tel: 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.

kellydProfessor Dave Kelly

Professor of Microbiology

Room: F1a
Tel: 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.

mitchellpDr Phil Mitchell


Room: E22a
Tel: 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.

partridgelDr Lynda Partridge

Senior Lecturer

Room: E7a
Tel: 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.

raffertyjDr John Rafferty

Reader in Structural Biology

Room: D8a
Tel: 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.

staniforthrDr Rosie Staniforth


Room: D7a
Tel: 0114 222 2761

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

walthojProfessor Jon Waltho

Gibson Chair in Biophysics

Room: D12c
Tel: 0114 222 2717

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

williamsonmProfessor Mike Williamson

Head of Department

Room: D6a
Tel: 0114 222 4224
Email: /

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