The University of Oxford

Cellular Structural Biology

University of Oxford
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Rank: 2 (The Complete University Guide)

Location: University of Oxford


Study mode full-time

Degree: Doctorate

Start Date: 2021/10/01

Duration: 48 months

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University of Oxford has opted into the TEF and received a Gold award.

The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (September 2020). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via DPhil in Cellular Structural Biology is jointly organised by the University of Oxford, Diamond Light Source and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. It provides outstanding training in structural biology methodology, allowing students to apply their knowledge to methods development or to the study of important molecular and cellular systems. Students spend the first year learning a range of structural biology techniques, undertaking two five-month projects in different laboratories and following taught courses. We encourage students to learn two of the major structural biology techniques during these two projects.Students then spend years two to four of the programme primarily engaged in their research projects. They have the opportunity to work with outstanding structural biologists, continuing to develop structural methods, or to investigate the molecular basis for cellular processes, including in infection or membrane biology. Collaborative projects are highly encouraged, with students building supervisory teams, which contain their primary structural biology supervisor as well as others with expertise in complementary methods or particular biological questions. Training in key research techniques should include:

  • X-ray crystallography
  • nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • electron cryo-microscopy and electron tomography
  • synchrotron radiation and integrative structural biology
  • high-resolution light microscopy
  • computational biochemistry and molecular simulations.
The students write reports at the end of each rotation project and have the opportunity to discuss the report and their research project with one of the principal investigators associated with the programme. They also prepare a project proposal at the end of the first year to outline what they plan to do during their DPhil project. Both of these activities provide valuable training in proposal and report writing.


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About this university

International students

Some 140 countries have attendees at Oxford and some 60% of the total student body is from outside the UK. There are various programs available for international students to help with orientation and integrating with life in Oxford as well as to help with legal matters such as immigration and visas. They can also help with practical matters such as dealing with finances and accessing health care with the National Health Service (NHS). Student life is filled with many traditions as befits a university of Oxford's age. One of these are the balls, held by the colleges with a formal dress code as well as smaller events regularly during the year. The Oxford University Student Union or OUSU, represents students and is their voice in debate about the university as well as organising student life organisations. There are a large number of sports available outside the classroom and many of these are of a high standard. The Boat Race is a famous example of a rowing race with nearby Cambridge University that is watched by up to 10 million TV viewers each year. There are also student newspapers and a radio station as well as performing arts groups. There are also student societies open to students who aren't studying the subject to learn something new and different.

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