University of Cambridge

Department of Biochemistry

Research into biological phenomena at the molecular level has provided much of the revolutionary science of the past twenty years. What Frederick Gowland Hopkins saw to be of growing importance in 1914, when he established the Department of Biochemistry in Cambridge, proved to be fertile ground for Nobel Laureates Fred Sanger, Rodney Porter and Peter Mitchell in the Department forty years later, and for Tim Hunt in the 1980’s. The same vision drives our science now. New developments in molecular and cell biology, together with the new ‘omics sciences: genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics, create challenging opportunities. The excitement of new discovery in our subject is set to continue well into the twenty first century. The Department of Biochemistry has now grown to be one of the largest in Cambridge - around 400 research and support staff - with an internationally competitive research programme. We have attracted many outstanding independent research fellows with funding from the Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, BBSRC and MRC, and several of our senior staff have been seconded to prestigious fellowships. The Department houses facilities funded by Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and NMR for modern biomolecular research, including an 800MHz NMR facility, modern X-ray laboratories, core facilities for mass spectrometry and plasmon resonance, advanced services for protein and nucleic acid sequencing and synthesis, and a Centre for Proteomics. These new developments underpin research in a range of different biological processes from molecular enzymology, through cell signalling and control of transcription and translation, to molecular microbiology, plant molecular biology, cancer biochemistry and cardiovascular biology. The quality of our science is reflected in the 5* gained in the last Research Assessment Exercise, only one of two Biochemistry departments to achieve this top level in the national assessment. The Department plays an increasing role in national activities. Members of the Department participate in committees of research councils, Cancer Research Campaign and Wellcome Trust, as Presidents of the Biochemical Society and the Biosciences Federation, and as Chair of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. We engage in many research collaborations with big pharma like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, as well as medium size companies like Tripos and Celltech. Basic science discoveries find their way, often quite quickly, into many aspects of medical, agricultural and environmental research. Members of the Department have co-founded two new companies - Biotica and Astex Technology; each has now moved to new premises in Cambridge and has been performing well.


University of Cambridge
Department of Biochemistry
Building O, Downing site
Forschung & Entwicklung
Forschung & Lehre