Molecular, Cell, Systems and Structural Biology
This theme encompasses all researchers using the latest molecular, cell and systems biology techniques to study basic biological processes. A particular strength in Oxford is that much of this work is interdisciplinary, involving collaboration between biologists working at molecular, cellular and systems levels and mathematicians, statisticians, chemists and physicists. This is becoming increasingly important as scientists appreciate that all available tools are needed to fully understand normal and abnormal biological processes. The close links between disciplines in Oxford provides an ideal training environment for graduate students interested in interdisciplinary research.
Areas of strength include membrane biology, receptors and ion channels; gene and chromosomal structure, replication and function; epigenetics; glycobiology; chemical biology; structural biology; and signal transduction. Oxford has excelled facilities for mass spectroscopy, which has revolutionized proteomics research. Oxford scientists also employ advanced imaging techniques such as cryo-electron tomography, super-resolution light microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Oligonucleotide microarrays were pioneered in Oxford and researchers here use these and other cutting edge genomics and statistical tools to investigate the genetic basis of disease. Oxford also has advanced facilities for genome engineering, single cell analysis, flow cytometry, next generation sequencing. Structural biologists in Oxford benefit from access to cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopes and the Diamond Light Source synchroton.
Systems biology, which involves the use of computational models to simulate biological processes, is widely used by many research groups. It is applied over a range of scales from simple molecular pathways to organ systems.