Oxford University, Structural Bioinformatics & Computational Biochemistry Unit
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 Research Interests  |  Resources  |  Publications  |  Collaborative Projects

Prof Mark Sansom

Ion channels and membrane proteins - simulations, modelling & bioinformatics

The overall theme of work in my group is to employ a range of computational techniques (structural bioinformatics, molecular modelling, MD simulations, etc.) to membrane proteins. Membrane proteins play keys role in cell biology e.g. as ion channels, drug receptors, and solute transporters. Indeed, it has been estimated that ~25% of genes code for membrane proteins, and that ca. 50% of potential new drug targets are membrane proteins. In particular we are interested in ion channels, membrane transport proteins, and bacterial outer membrane proteins.

Dr Phil Biggin

Computational Studies of Receptors

We are particularly interested in developing and applying computational methods including docking and molecular dynamics simulations to receptor proteins such as the ligand-gated ion channels. These are receptors that upon binding of a ligand change their conformation such that ions can pass through a central pore and down their electrochemical gradient. We are currently focussed on two distinct families of these receptors: 1. The ionotropic glutamate receptors and 2. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Although there has been a recent increase in the amount of structural information available, many questions still remain concerning the dynamics associated with these process. An understanding of these processes should be useful in the design of new drug treatments for a range of diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and epilepsy.

Heart Physiome

The Wellcome Trust Heart Physiome Project

The Wellcome Trust Heart Physiome Project is a 5-year international collaborative effort between the universities of Auckland and Oxford to develop a multi-scale modelling framework for the heart that can be used for addressing a wide range of scientific and clinical questions.


Distributed database for biomolecular simulations

The aim of the BioSimGrid project is to make the results of large-scale computer simulations of biomolecules more accessible to the biological community. Such simulations of the motions of proteins are a key component in understanding how the structure of a protein is related to its dynamic function.

Last updated 18/10/06