Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The Division of Molecular and Cellular Function (MCF) performs discovery research to provide insight into crucial cellular processes.

Our areas of focus include: 

  • Gene expression 
  • RNA biology 
  • Protein synthesis and turnover 
  • Cell membranes and cytoskeleton 
  • Cell division 
  • Membrane protein structure 

The experimental models we use range from plants and yeasts, through vertebrate models, to human cells. We teach a spectrum of molecular and cellular biology to biological sciences undegraduate and postgraduate students. 

Our research 

Gene expression and cellular programming 

Changes in gene expression underlie development, disease and evolution. Our overall aim is to understand the molecular basis to the complex and dynamic events underlying gene expression and their significance in the context of organismal homeostasis, development and disease.  

MCF researchers combine biochemistry with population and single-cell ‘omics approaches to explore gene expression programmes in animal and plants, and to study the impact of altered gene expression in diseases such as cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders.  

We also explore gene expression in the context of plant development and plant biotechnology. 

Find out more about gene expression, chromatin and signalling research and single cell research

Cellular dynamics and compartmentalisation 

Virtually all cellular functions in animals and plants – including division, differentiation, migration, adhesion and secretion – are dependent on cytoskeletal and membrane dynamics.  

MCF researchers use the very latest approaches in cell manipulation, biological imaging and proteomics to explore how the functions of cellular membranes and the cytoskeleton are governed, and the impact of impaired cell dynamics on numerous common and rare diseases. 

Find out more about cell dynamics research

RNA and protein fate 

The control of RNA stability and the process of protein synthesis and turnover are fundamental to normal cell function. Knowledge of these systems is relevant in biotechnology, ageing and disease. 

MCF researchers use a range of model systems combined with state-of-the-art methods in ‘omics and bio-imaging to understand the pathway from mRNA to protein, as well as the impact of cellular stress on RNA and protein fate. A major theme is non-membrane compartments. 

Find out more about protein and RNA fate research

Structural biology 

Computational advances are transforming the landscape for structural biology, in which static structures will be superseded by dynamic structural studies that visualise conformational changes and flexible (i.e. functional) protein regions, thus deriving mechanism.  

MCF researchers combine strengths in cutting-edge structural and computational biology to explore protein function, with particular emphasis on membrane proteins and large structural assemblies. 

Our pedagogic research 

We contribute widely to bioscience teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Whilst all researchers contribute to bioscience teaching, several MCF staff use their teaching expertise and pedagogic research to lead degree programmes, support the student community and develop new teaching strategies.  

Head of Division

Professor Philip Woodman

Our researchers

View a list of researchers within the Division


Professor Philip Woodman
tel: +44 (0) 161 275 7846
email: [email protected]

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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