The Eleanor and Guy Dodson Building houses the equipment and expert staff required for elucidating biomolecular structure.

The building contains the three dominant techniques used in structural biology: X-ray crystallography, electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.

The tools we use can be equally powerful for studying the structure of non-biological molecules. By bringing together experts in the different techniques, we allow researchers to move easily between techniques based on the demands of their project and to integrate data from different approaches to capitalise on the strengths of each.

A part of the Department of Chemistry and predominantly used by members of the York Structural Biology Laboratory (YSBL), the facility also exists to serve groups from the University of York and external users from both universities and industry. We have close links with other facilities on campus, particularly the Bioscience Technology Facility and Nanocentre. Brought together, the different facilities provide complementary capabilities that enable the cutting-edge science that we do at the University.

The recently constructed Eleanor and Guy Dodson Building was named for the founders of YSBL; you can read more about them here. The building was designed around the specific requirements of structural biology hardware and, for example, provides low-vibration, low-humidity, constant-temperature conditions for the electron cryo-microscopy suite. Its construction was funded by a generous grant from the Wolfson Foundation and the University of York while the equipment was funded by the Wellcome Trust, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and Tony Wild, an early York Chemistry graduate and generous benefactor to the department.


Johan is the Senior Technical Specialist for X-ray and cryo-EM. His role is to advise on crystallographic projects, both at the stage of development and grant writing, as well as practical assistance in all aspects of diffraction experiments and structure determination and refinement. For cryo-EM his role is to provide technical assistance in carrying out the experiments. For both techniques Johan coordinates the computing requirements.

After a degree in chemistry in Leiden, Johan moved to York to complete a PhD in the group of Guy and Eleanor Dodson. After several postdoctoral positions he then took on the role of X-ray Facility Manager. In recent years much of his time has been taken up with formulating the requirements for the X-ray and cryo-EM labs in the Eleanor and Guy Dodson building, and being closely involved in the construction phase of the building to ensure that the demanding requirements were met, as well as learning about cryo-EM.

Sam is the technician for our X-ray and cryo-EM operations. His role is to provide support and advice for users, maintain equipment and test samples for the X-ray facility. 

Matt is the NMR technical specialist. His role is to support NMR users by offering training, technical support and advice on experimental design as well as contributing to the maintenance of the NMR equipment.

Michael is a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biophysics in the Department of Biology and academic lead for biomolecular NMR spectroscopy. Michael has a long history in biomolecular NMR spectroscopy, completing a PhD with Professor Paul Driscoll (UCL) and conducting NMR-focused PDRA positions at the University of Toronto (Canada) and Institut de Biologie Structurale (Grenobe, France). His research focuses on the structure-function relationships of modular proteins, protein/nucleic acid interactions, and the development of isotopic labelling techniques for NMR studies. Michael can provide advice on project planning, experiments and sample preparation.

Jamie is the academic lead on the cryoEM facility, being responsible for long-term scientific planning and offering advice to develop new projects. His lab works on the large, multi-subunit, membrane-bound enzymes that make up bacterial electron transport chains, for which cryoEM has been transformational. He is a UKRI Future Leader Fellow in the Department of Chemistry.

Image of colleagues in the Eleanor and Guy Dodson Building

Access and contact

The Centre exists to serve the academic community at the University of York. There is no expectation of co-authorship except where an intellectual contribution to the project is made by facility staff; however, we do ask that the staff and grants that made the research possible are appropriately acknowledged.

Project planning and grant application enquiries

Sample delivery, data collection, and retrieving data enquiries