Molecular Biosciences

Crystal structure of the cofactor NAD (blue) and an inhibitor (green) bound to the parasite responsible for the most lethal form of malaria

Molecular Biosciences research focuses on understanding the complexity of biological systems at a molecular level. Working at the interface of biology, chemistry and biophysics, this theme looks at new approaches to fundamental biological questions, as well as the design of drugs and biomaterials. The work encompasses physical biochemistry and chemical, structural and synthetic biology.

The Molecular Biosciences research theme uses cross-disciplinary and integrative approaches to tackle contemporary questions in basic biomolecular science and quantify biological processes in the context of both normal healthy function and physical conditions caused by disease. There is an emphasis on understanding the interactions between proteins and bioactive molecules in order to elucidate reaction mechanisms and pathways. The work combines biochemical and biophysical methods with chemical synthesis, protein design and computational modelling.

There are recognised strengths in biophysical and molecular mechanistic research with a focus on protein dynamics, structural biology and enzymology; we excel in DNA-protein interactions, membrane proteins, protein translocation, assembly and design, and have emerging research programmes in Synthetic Biology.

Topics include: bioenergetics, bionanotechnology, chaperone action DNA-protein interactions, drug design, enzyme mechanisms, mmebrane protein insertion and folding, molecular modelling, photosynthetic reaction centre mechanism, protein translocation, polyketide synthetic pathways, protein structure, prediction and design, receptor biology and synthetic biology.

Research in this theme is centred primarily on the Department of Biochemistry and School of Chemistry. The theme comprises around 35 principal investigators with total grant income in excess of £15 million.