Our research employs biochemical and biophysical approaches to address key issues in diverse areas, across the scale range from atom to organism.

Much of our work focuses on the synthesis, regulation and organisation of nucleic acids.

We use a variety of advanced biophysical, biochemical and cellular techniques, including NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, confocal microscopy and single molecule fluorescence. 

Hand in glove holding Petri plate with bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, Moraxella Catarrhalis


Our research uses cutting-edge molecular and biophysical techniques to deliver positive benefits for industry, the environment and public health.

We focus on research that addresses two global challenges:

Research highlights


Name Expertise
Daniela Barillà
  • Mechanisms of genome segregation in Bacteria and Archaea
  • Maintenance of multidrug resistance plasmids
  • DNA-protein interactions
Christoph Baumann
  • Single-molecule detection and manipulation
  • Microbial membrane biophysics
  • Biophysics of protein-DNA interactions
Neil C Bruce
  • Plant and microbial metabolism of xenobiotic compounds
  • Carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes)
  • Cytochromes P450
James Chong
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Applied systems biology
  • Methanogenic archaea

Dawn Coverley

  • Functional organisation of the mammalian cell nucleus
  • Cell cycle control and cancer
  • Structure, function and exploitation of CIZ1
Gareth J O Evans
  • Neuronal signalling
  • Neuronal development
  • Neuroblastoma
Michelle Hawkins
  • DNA replication
  • Bacterial replication termination
  • Replication-transcription conflicts
Ian A Graham FRS
  • Metabolism of alkaloids and terpenoids
  • Medicinal plants
  • Industrial biotechnology of high value chemicals from plants
Mark Leake
  • Single-molecule biophysics
  • Molecular machines
  • DNA-protein interactions
Benjamin Lichman
  • Plant natural product biosynthesis
  • Evolution of plant specialised metabolism
  • Mechanism and applications of enzymes from plant specialised metabolism 
Frans Maathius
  • Abiotic plant stress
  • Plant nutrition
  • Membrane transport
Michael Plevin
  • Non-coding RNA biology
  • Molecular recognition
  • Protein and RNA structural biophysics
Jennifer R Potts
  • Structural biology
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Surface proteins of Gram positive bacteria
Federico Sabbadin
  • Carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes)
  • Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases
  • Oxidases
Gavin H Thomas
  • Function and mechanism of bacterial transporters
  • Metabolism of insect bacterial symbiosis
  • Chemical tolerance in microbial chassis
Thierry Tonon
  • Algal physiology and metabolism
  • Algal metabolic pathways and enzymes
  • Biotechnological applications of algae and algal genes
Reidun Twarock
  • Mathematical virology
  • Geometry, group theory and tiling
  • RNA virus assembly
Daniel Ungar
  • Golgi organization
  • Molecular investigation of vesicle tethering 
  • Mammalian glycan biosynthesis
Robert White
  • Gene transcription in health and disease
  • Control of tRNA expression
  • Molecular approaches to enhance transgene expression