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Molecular biosciences

Molecular Biosciences seeks to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of life, with applications in health, food security and technological development.

This research integrates basic biological research and develops cutting-edge techniques in biotechnology and modelling to allow us to predict how biological systems respond to change.

A closeup of some molecular structures.

Research areas

Our research in molecular biosciences encompasses three main areas of focus:

  • Understanding molecular and cellular systems – using biochemical, structural and cellular phenotyping approaches to understand biological function at the molecular level.
  • Developmental biology and modelling – taking multiscale approaches to understand and model developmental and stem cell processes in key model organisms, such as insects and plants.
  • Imaging and engineering biological systems – using interdisciplinary approaches in biology, physics and chemistry to image and engineer biological systems.


We have close links with Chemistry in structural biology and with Physics in the development of advanced imaging technologies, and we collaborate globally with academic and industrial partners.

The Molecular Biosciences division also leads five of the seven Technology Research Hubs within the School of Biosciences -  reflecting its technological strengths.

Fellowship and PhD applications

We welcome approaches by potential fellowship applicants whose interests map onto the divisional research areas.

We also welcome applications from PhD students with  research interests that fit our strategic research areas.

Please contact for more information.

Staff members

NameArea of interest
Professor Helen White-Cooper - Head of DivisionGene regulation in sperm development in Drosophila.
Professor Trevor Dale - Deputy Head of DivisionWnt signalling and breast cancer.
Professor Paola Borri (Physics)Biophotonics and novel techniques for scanning microscopy.
Dr Barend HJ de GraafPollen Pistil Interactions and Membrane Trafficking.
Dr Walter DewittePlant patterning and growth; plant growth regulators and cell division.
Dr Veronica Grieneisen 
Dr Fisun HamaratogluCell-cell signalling in cell elimination, growth control and cancer.
Dr Patrick Hardinge 
Professor John HarwoodAcyl lipid metabolism and function.
Dr Angharad Jones 
Dr Dafydd JonesProtein structural and functional plasticity; protease structure and function.
Dr Tomasz Jurkowski 
Dr Nick KentChromatin structure and function.
Dr Sonia Lopez de QuintoRNA regulation through spatial localization.
Dr Francesco Masia 
Dr Georgina MenziesBiological structures such as proteins, DNA, and mucins using molecular modelling techniques.
Professor Jim MurrayPlant cellular development; plant and molecular biotechnology.
Dr Daniel PassBioinformatics and integrative-omics.
Dr Zoe PrytherchHuman in vitro lung models.
Professor Hilary RogersPlant molecular cell biology: senescence mechanisms and cell cycle.
Dr Steve RutherfordPlant molecular cell biology; membrane trafficking; education.
Professor Ben ScheresHow gene regulatory networks contribute to self-organisation of plant tissue.
Dr Simon ScofieldTranscriptional networks in plant stem cells and synthetic genetic circuits.
Dr Andrew ShoreEpigenetics and Thermogenesis, collaborative learning in Higher Education, technology enhanced learning, quantitative assessment of success in higher education, evolution of entry qualifications based upon attainment in Higher Education, development of school and college curricular to support transition to Higher Education.
Dr Henrietta StandleyDevelopmental biology.
Dr Glen SweeneyDevelopmental transitions in farmed-fish; RNA processing; education.
Dr Mike TaylorPrograms of cell differentiation.
Dr Wynand Van der Goes van NatersMolecular basis of sensory systems in insects.
Dr Peter Watson Protein and lipid trafficking.
Dr Helen Woodfield 
Dr Mark Young (Postgraduate Divisional Tutor)Membrane protein structural biology.