Sustainability database


Biophysics and Structural Biology

The Biophysics and Structural Biology research group brings together researchers interested in understanding biology at the molecular level, linking structure with function. Research in the group spans the kingdoms of life investigating the molecular basis of virus, plant, microbial, animal and human biology. It often uses an interdisciplinary approach combining the use of structural biology with advanced enzymological, spectroscopic or computational studies.

Research group



Prof Nigel Scrutton

Enzyme catalysts are central to life. They are the vehicles for delivering innovative bioscience solutions to chemicals manufacture, drug discovery, therapeutics and bioprocessing. They are the key enablers in the white biotechnology revolution, providing essential components in the new science of 'synthetic biology', offering new routes to biofuels, bulk and commodity chemicals and novel therapeutics.

Quantum biology, Biology, Biocatalysis, Bioenergy, Renewable energy, Energy, Biotechnology


Prof David Leys

The research in our group mainly uses x-ray crystallography and a range of other techniques to address how macromolecular structure determines function. We focus on several aspects: how do proteins interact with other macromolecules (RNA, DNA or other proteins) or their substrates?  How do enzymes work, particularly those for which mechanistic insight is lacking? Protein structures also form the basis of protein engineering and for structure-based drug design.

Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Health, Polymers


Dr Giles Johnson

Global climate change is resulting in changing weather patterns. For the UK, it is predicted that we will get warmer wetter winters and hotter drier summers. At the same time, there will be an increase in the frequency of extreme weather, including periods of droughts and heat waves, but also more storms and floods. This, combined with growing demand for food across the world, means that agriculture is facing unprecedented challenges. The crops used by farmers will have to change.

Climate, Climate change, Carbon, Weather, Agriculture, Rural studies, Plants, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Ecology, Environment, Sustainability, Teaching, Education


Dr Caroline Bowsher

Plants unlike animals have the ability to produce their own food via Photosynthesis. This process takes part in the green parts of a plant – manly in the leaves. Photosynthesis produces carbohydrates, such as starch, and other important food products such as amino acids, proteins and fats. The chemical reactions producing these compounds are catalysed by enzymes found in a part of the cell called the chloroplast.

Plants, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Sustainability, Teaching, Education