This theme focuses on the structure and function in biological macromolecules and their assemblies, seeking where possible to exploit these systems for medical or industrial advantage.

Key to this research is the preparation and the use of chemical molecules to investigate cellular biology. The theme also embraces software and methods development and takes in bio-inorganic perspectives.

Specific research areas include:

  • Study of the fundamental structural and chemical bases for biological and biochemical processes.
  • Determination and analysis of the molecular structure of biological macromolecules and their complexes using electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) and protein crystallography.
  • Development of practical and computational methods to support and enable structural biology research.
  • The synthesis and application of small molecules to probe and exploit cellular biology.
  • The application of knowledge of organic and inorganic chemistry to understand and exploit enzymes in biocatalysis and biofuel production.


We have extensive national and international collaborations.


Our work is underpinned by facilities for chemical synthesis and spectroscopic analysis, protein purification and characterisation, cryo-electron microscopy, crystallisation, X-Ray diffraction, biomolecular NMR and mass spectrometry. We have strong links to groups in the Department of Biology especially those of Plevin and Hill, belonging to YSBL, and further links to YBRI, CNAP and the Bioscience Technology Facility.