Biological membranes differentiate our cells from the extracellular environment, and those of micro-organisms that cause disease. Essential to the function of these bio-membranes are the protein molecules embedded within them. Our research group uses X-ray crystallography and Cryo-Electron Microscopy to visualise these membrane proteins in near atomic detail. In combination with biochemistry and biophysics, this can facilitate a complete understanding of how they function in the context of health and disease. This is often a necessary first step in the development of treatments and cures that can benefit society.
Recently, we have also started to engineer membrane proteins like G-protein coupled receptors to create novel biosensors, using the rapidly developing power of Synthetic Biology.