Membrane-associated proteins have diverse cellular roles that include providing a controlled and efficient transfer of information or material across cell membranes. Abnormal membrane protein activity is at the root of numerous common diseases. In addition, membrane proteins are sometimes important for the survival or toxicity of pathogens. For these reasons, our lab is interested in understanding the molecular details of membrane protein structure and function, including the impact of mutations and endogenous or exogenous ligand binding, and how regulatory protein interactions modulate membrane protein activity. Ongoing projects relate to understanding viral ion channel drug resistance, substrate specificity of metabolite transporters, and the architecture of membrane remodelling proteins.

A central technique in our lab is solution NMR, which has the ability to rapidly and site-specifically detect intermolecular interactions, as well as any associated conformational changes. In addition, NMR can be used to determine the rate of interconversion and the relative populations of conformational sub-states, which are important in ion channel gating and signal transduction. The Biochemistry NMR Centre at Oxford houses a range of spectrometers with fields from 500 to 950 MHz.