DTP Staff

Professor Mark Sansom: Co-Director

Mark Sansom is Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Co-Director of the DTP. His research group aims to use computational approaches such as molecular dynamics simulations, molecular modelling and structural bioinformatics to study the structure and function of membrane proteins. Membrane proteins play keys role in cell biology as ion channels, drug receptors, and solute transporters.

Professor Gail Preston: Co-Director

Gail’s research group uses multi-disciplinary approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms used by infectious microorganisms to colonise host tissues and the impact of environmental factors on disease development. Her research group is based in the Department of Plant Sciences. She completed her PhD at Cornell University and was subsequently awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, which she held from 2001-2009.


Dr Esther Becker: Programme Director

Esther is a Research Fellow in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. She studied Medical Biology at the University of Amsterdam, before embarking on her PhD in Cell & Developmental Biology at Harvard University. In 2006, she came to Oxford as a post-doctoral fellow and in 2011 she started her own group as a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow. Her work aims to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms that regulate brain development and how the impairment of these mechanisms leads to brain dysfunction.

James Wright: Programme Administrator

Joined the team in August 2012 and is responsible for the day to day administration of the Interdisciplinary Bioscience programme. Prior to starting at the DTP James worked in the Graduate Admissions Office for seven years. He works part time every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and alternate Tuesdays

Samantha Miles: Centre Administrator

Sam is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Doctoral Training Centre. Sam has worked for the University for a number of years prior to joining the DTC, primarily in the area of Graduate Admissions. As well as Academic Administrator, Sam is Departmental First Aider and is also Harassment Advisor.

Dr Eoin Malins: IT Manager

Eoin comes from a research background with an interest in algorithm optimisation for hardware implementations. Having worked at the New York Stock Exchange, APT (Audio Processing Technology), Queen’s University and the University of Ulster, Eoin is now responsible for the smooth running of the staff and student computer systems at the DTC.

Jo Burch: Finance Officer

Jo is the Finance Officer for the DTC. She has worked in finance for over 12 years and has been working at the DTC since August 2010 where she is responsible for all the day to day finances. She is ably assisted by Lorraine. Jo is part-time and does not work on Wednesdays.

Francesca Wright: Administrative Officer

Francesca joined the DTC team as the Administrative Assistant in September 2010. Prior to this she worked in the NHS as a clerical officer in the Cellular Pathology Department. Francesca assists Sam Miles with the day to day running of all DTC programmes and is primarily in charge of the admissions process.

Lorraine Damerell: Administration and Finance Assistant

Lorraine is one of the newest members of the DTC's administrative team, offering assistance to the admissions processes, general admin and finance, and working primarily with Francesca and Johanna.
Partner Representatives

Professor Venugopal Nair

Venugopal Nair is Head of the Avian Viral Diseases programme at the Pirbright Institute. His research includes multidisciplinary approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of viral diseases affecting poultry health. Research at the Pirbright Institute makes use of the biocontainment facilities and viral disease models in natural target livestock species to understand the molecular virus-host interactions to develop novel strategies for disease control.

Dr John Runions

John is a Reader in Cell and Molecular Biology at Oxford Brookes University. His research utilises imaging-based technology to study protein function and localisation in cells. Advanced super-resolution imaging and 3D electron microscopy enable observation of single protein molecules and interconnections between cellular structures with unprecedented resolution.

Dr Martin Walsh

Martin is a structural biologist who co-directs life science research and developments at Diamond Light Source. His group is using a structural approach to aid in the understanding of how gram negative bacteria adhere and persist in the human host and cause disease. In particular the group’s work is focused on the gram negative pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa all of which are important respiratory pathogens. The group uses primarily X-ray crystallography to enable a structure-function approach to understand the molecular basis of bacterial adherence and virulence.

Dr John Webster

Dr John Webster is the group leader for Large Scale Structures at the STFC ISIS facility. This Group is responsible for instrumentation in Small-Angle Scattering and Reflectometery on both Target station 1 and 2 at the ISIS neutron source. Current personal research interests include Low temperature surfactancy and sustainable biosurfactants.

Dr Dave Clarke

Dave is head of the STFC Central Laser Facility's Research Complex Division. He is a biochemist interested in the development and application of spectroscopy and imaging techniques for life sciences research. He began this role in 2010, having previously been group leader of the CLF's "Octopus" imaging cluster, a national facility that provides advanced optical microscopy for the research community. Previously he worked on the SRS synchrotron facility at Daresbury laboratory, where he developed and operated a circular dichroism spectroscopy beamline.

Prof Simon Phillips

Prof Simon Phillips is Director of the Research Complex at Harwell, and a Visiting Professor of Molecular Biophysics at Oxford. His research group focuses on the structure and function of proteins that process DNA in recombination and damage repair, and well as anti-cancer drug design. The main techniques used are X-ray crystallography, X-ray and neutron scattering, and functional analysis using molecular biology and biophysical methods in solution.
Departmental Representatives

Dr Omer Dushek

Omer Dushek is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. The focus of his laboratory is to make sense of the complex cellular signalling networks in immune cells. To do this we generate large quantitative datasets of immune cell activation which we use to infer models of signalling. We find that despite the signalling complexity simple phenotypic models are often sufficient to explain the data. The work offers a new way to tackle the biological complexity of cell signalling. The laboratory is highly interdisciplinary with students and post-docs from diverse backgrounds such as molecular biology to applied mathematics. The laboratory is funded jointly by the Wellcome Trust & Royal Society.

Dr Wei Huang

Dr Wei Huang is an Associate Professor at Department of Engineering Science. His research interests are Raman single cell biotechnology and synthetic biology. He is one of the pioneers of single cell Raman biotechnology and develops Raman activated cell sorting for single cell -omics, which will help to understand ecological functions of unculturable bacteria (> 90% bacteria in nature) and discover novel genes. He has developed various biosensors for the detection of environment pollution. Currently he is working on new concept of synthetic biology using SimCells (simple cells) and exploring ultrasound gene transfer to manipulate synthetic microbial community.

Professor Nick Yeung

Nick Yeung’s research focuses on human learning, memory and decision making, using a combination of EEG, fMRI and computational approaches. His group is based in the Department of Experimental Psychology. Current projects in his lab include investigations of the neural basis of confidence judgments and error detection in decision making, the roles of oscillatory neural activity in sustained attention, and the integration of instruction and experience in learning.h>

Associate Professor Kristine Krug

Kristine Krug is Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. Her research group investigates the neural basis of perceptual decision-making in primates: from single cells to behaviour. In her lab, she uses brain imaging and neurophysiological recording from nerve cells; she stimulates and traces neuronal circuits that directly contribute to visual perception.

Professor Colin Kleanthous

Colin Kleanthous did his BSc in Chemistry with Biochemistry and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Leicester. Following postdocs at the University of California, Berkeley, and University of Glasgow, he took up a lectureship in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, moving subsequently to the Department of Biology at the University of York. He joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford in 2012 as the Iveagh Professor of Microbial Biochemistry. His research centres on bacterial protein-protein interactions, in particular how bacteriocins use such interactions to catalyse their translocation across the Gram-negative cell envelope, which has led to an interest in the organisation of outer membrane proteins. He was chairman of the UK Biochemical Society 2011-2013.

Professor Charles Godfray

Charles Godfray is a population biologist with broad interests in science and the interplay of science and policy. His research involves experimental and theoretical studies in population and community ecology, epidemiology and evolutionary biology. The two main projects in his laboratory involve the interactions between aphids and their food plants, natural enemies and symbionts, and the control of malaria vectoring mosquitoes using novel genetic interventions. He is particularly interested in food security and chaired the Lead Expert Group of the UK Government Office of Science’s Foresight project on the Future of Food and Farming.