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Biological Sciences

Biochemistry and Biophysics of Proteins

We are fully equipped to perform cutting-edge biophysical and biochemical research using a combination of conventional and custom designed apparatus, including:

  • Circular Dichroism to monitor secondary structures including chemical and thermal denaturation. We have a rapid-mixing attachment to allow for stopped flow CD and a magnetic attachment for MCD.
  • Stopped flow optical/fluorescence and laser flash photolysis set-ups (Applied Photophysics) for kinetic analysis of enzyme reactions and ligand binding.
  • A fully equipped in-house facility for robotic protein crystallisation. We use leading synchrotron radiation facilities at Diamond Light Source (UK), the Swiss Light Source and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble. We also have an in house facility to measure the optical spectra of protein crystals.
  • Extensive facilities for UV/visible/near infra-red and fluorescence spectroscopy from isolated samples and for proteins within cells (Olis instrument).
  • A Microcal Isothermal Titration Calorimetry instrument for deriving the thermodynamics of protein ligand binding (for example substrates, inhibitors, DNA, RNA and other proteins).
  • Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) facilities to permit the study of a range of biomolecular interactions.
  • Extensive protein production and purification facilities. We are also fully equipped for large scale recombinant protein production from bacterial cultures and a Celligen Plus bioreactor is available for mammalian cell culture volumes of up to 10 L. Our protein purification suite includes four AKTA systems for ion exchange, size-exclusion, affinity chromatography and analytical/preparative HPLC.
  • Specialist facilities for X-band Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy – including a liquid helium cryostat and apparatus for preparation of rapid-freeze quench samples.
  • Potentiometry set-up for measurement of redox potentials by cyclic voltammetry and redox titration.
  • Structural bioinformatics /computational chemistry facilities for modelling protein structures; including specialist drug design software (from Schrödinger) and high performance GPU-based computing designed specifically for molecular dynamics simulations.