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Birkbeck, University of London: Structural Biology

Institution Birkbeck, University of London
Department Biological Sciences
Telephone 0203 907 0700
Study type Taught


The MRes in Structural Biology is an intensive, high-quality introduction to research in structural and computational biology, which are key to the dissection of macromolecular 'machines' and cellular pathways of medical interest.

This course offers both taught components and extensive research experience for students with backgrounds in biological, chemical and physical sciences. It is particularly suitable for those who wish to gain both theoretical and practical research experience in the techniques of structural biology.

Our research areas include:

  • Molecular chaperones, amyloid fibrils, pore-forming toxins

  • M. tuberculosis, cytoskeletal proteins

  • Signal transduction, bacterial pathogenesis and DNA replication

  • Electron microscopy, cytoskeletal dynamics and function

  • Electron cryo-microscopy; electron tomography and image processing; development of methods for recognition and separation of heterogeneous molecular complexes; bacteriophage assembly; structural analysis of the transcription factor p53

  • Hsp90, the kinetochore

  • DNA repair

  • Protein folding and misfolding, in particular at the point of synthesis on intact ribosomes

  • Viral protein-nucleic acid interactions.


  • In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), in a joint submission with UCL, Biological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked 11th in the UK, with a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.

  • Part of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint initiative with University College London.

  • Birkbeck houses state-of-the-art equipment for X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy and tomography and associated image processing. We have excellent facilities for UV and CD spectroscopy, calorimetry, fluorescence spectroscopy, ultracentrifugation, and protein expression and purification in the biochemical and molecular biology laboratories. We have a 158 processor cluster for intensive data processing. All areas have specialised computer equipment for data analysis, molecular graphics and molecular modelling and programming.

Master of Research - MRes

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