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Irving O. Shoichet Distinguished Lecture

University of Oxford


In the early 1990s I could not imagine projecting protein molecules into the gas phase to learn something about their structure and interactions. Quite by chance, however, in the mid-1990s while studying the process of protein folding using a mass spectrometer, I started to observe interactions between proteins and ligands. This was something that was unexpected to see. Proteins are known to remain functional only in the presence of aqueous solutions. Initially, I didn't believe these unexpected results. The more research we carried out the more we started to understand this phenomenon. In the year 2000 we showed that a mass spectrometer, with appropriate modifications, could transmit and maintain particles with a total mass of 2.5 MDa. We also learnt about some unexpected features by studying these macromolecular assemblies in the gas phase. In the last decade we overcame another significant practical challenge and introduced membrane protein complexes into the gas phase liberating them from micelles formed in solution. In my lecture I will describe the highs and lows of this new phase for studying membrane proteins focusing in particular on our attempts to get closer to the cellular membrane.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

200 College Street
Wallberg Building
Room 116


CAROL ROBINSON is recognised for pioneering the use of mass spectrometry for her research into the 3D structure of proteins. Her most recent work is concerned with examining how small molecules, specifically lipids, impact on the structure and function of membrane assemblies.

Carol is a Royal Society Research Professor and Doctor Lee's Professor of Chemistry Elect at the University of Oxford. She is the first woman to hold a Chair in Chemistry at the University of Oxford and was previously the first female Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge.

A graduate student at Churchill College, Cambridge, she completed her PhD in two years. Following an eight-year career break to begin raising her three children, she returned to research at Oxford, later becoming a titular professor in 1999.

In 2001 she moved to Cambridge to continue her research into mass spectrometry and was elected a Professorial Fellow at Churchill College Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004 and a Royal Society Research Professor in 2006. In 2009 she was elected Doctor Lee's Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and in 2013 was awarded the title of Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.


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