Elspeth Garman016 002


Nicholas Kurti Senior Research Fellow in Macromolecular Crystallography, Brasenose College
Director of the Systems Biology Programme at the Doctoral Training Centre, University of Oxford
Professor of Molecular Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford


B.Sc (Durham), D.Phil (Oxford)

Academic Background and Previous Positions

Oct 2009-Sep 2011. Director of Life Sciences Interface Programme at the Doctoral Training Centre, University of Oxford.

2008. Awarded title of Professor in Molecular Biophysics in `Recognition of Distinction Exercise' University of Oxford.

2008. `Major Educator' personal teaching award from the University of Oxford.

2003. Appointed to permanent Senior Research position in the Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University.

2002. Awarded title of Reader in Molecular Biophysics in `Recognition of Distinction Exercise' University of Oxford.

1999-2003. Departmental Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University.

1987-1999. Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Oxford University.
Research Support Staff, 67% of full time.

Changed fields from Nuclear Physics to Biophysics in August 1987.

1985-1987. Worcester and Somerville Colleges, Oxford University. Stipendiary lecturer in Physics.

1984-1985. St. Anne's College, Oxford University. Stipendiary lecturer in Physics.

1981-1984. University Research Officer in Nuclear Structure Physics, Oxford University.

1980-1981. Science Research Council Fellow at Nuclear Physics Laboratory, Oxford University.

1976-1979. SERC funded Postgraduate in Nuclear Physics Department at Oxford University. Experimental Nuclear Structure. Thesis entitled:`Inelastic Alpha Particle Scattering from Oxygen 16 and Medium Mass Nuclei in the Incident EnergyRange 7 - 18 MeV. Linacre College

1973-1976. Undergraduate in Physics at Durham University.

1973. St. Michael's School, P.O.Box 15, Manzini, Swaziland, Southern Africa. Volunteer Secondary School teacher (up to overseas `O' level standard) of Science, Mathematics, Games, English. Form teacher and House Mistress.

Undergraduate Teaching Areas

Mathematics for Biomedical Scientists and Biochemists, Radioactivity, Protein interactions, Protein crystallography, Virology (influenza).

Graduate Teaching Areas

Protein Crystallography, Mathematics for Biosciences, Biophysics, Structural Biology, Experimental Techniques for Protein Crystallography, Metal detection in proteins.

Research Interests

The three-dimensional shapes of biological macromolecules are of great interest in medicine, biology and biochemistry. Detailed knowledge of the shapes of molecules aids the understanding of their normal function and of disease pathways, and is vital for the design of drug therapies. These 3-D shapes are the largely determined by protein crystallography, in which a small crystal of the biological molecule is irradiated with an intense beam of X-rays, and from the pattern of scattered X-rays, information on the fold and shape of the protein is obtained. My group's research is aimed at developing new techniques for protein crystallography which will enable larger and more complex molecules to be studied. We have been heavily involved with establishing methods for collecting X-ray data with the crystal held at cryotemperatures (usually 100 K) which significantly reduces (around a factor of 70 times) the rate of radiation damage to the crystal. We are currently working on understanding the effects of this damage on the biological information that is obtained from 3-D structures, and trying to find experimental strategies to mitigate it.

Proteins often contain metals vital to their function. Using the technique of Proton Induced X-ray Emission (microPIXE) we have established a way to unambiguously determine the elemental composition of liquid and crystalline proteins and identify the bound metals. This is now being developed into a high throughput technique which will allow much more detailed studies of metal binding to biological samples.

We also carry out structural studies which have focussed so far on the 3-D structures of viral (influenza) and bacterial neuraminidases, and more recently on parts of human fibronectin and Mycobacterium Tuberculosis.


* Simultaneous X-ray diffraction from multiple single crystals of Macromolecules.
Karthik S. Paithankar, Henning O. Sørensen, Jonathan P. Wright, Søren Schmidt, Henning F. Poulsen & Elspeth F. Garman
Acta Cryst. (2011) D67, 608-618.

* Macromolecular crystallography radiation damage research: what's new?
Elspeth F. Garman & Martin Weik.
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2011) 18, 313-7.

* Effective scavenging at cryotemperatures: further increasing the dose tolerance of protein crystals.
Eugenio De la Mora, Ian Carmichael & Elspeth F. Garman
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2011) 18, 313-317

* Probing the architecture of the Mycobacterium marinum Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase active site
Areej M. Abuhammad, Edward D. Lowe, Elizabeth Fullam, Martin Noble, Elspeth F. Garman & Edith Sim.
Protein and Cell (2010) 1(4): 384-392.

* Radiation damage in macromolecular crystallography: what is it and why should we care?
Elspeth F. Garman.
Acta Cryst. (2010) D66, 339-351.

* Know your dose: RADDOSE.
Karthik S Paithankar & Elspeth F Garman.
Acta Cryst. (2010) D66, 381-388.

* Mechanism for the hydrolysis of a sulfur-sulfur bond based on the crystal structure of the thiosulfohydrolase SoxB.
Sauvé, V., Roversi, P., Leath, K.J., Garman, E.F., Antrobus, R., Lea, S.M. & Berks, B.C.
J.Biol.Chem. (2009) 284: 21707-21718.

* Colouring Cryo-Cooled Crystals: on-line microspectrophotometry
John McGeehan, Raimond B.G. Ravelli*, James W. Murray, Robin Leslie Owen, Florent Cipriani, Sean McSweeney, Martin Weik & Elspeth F. Garman*.
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2009) 16, 163-172.

* Room temperature scavengers for MX: increased lifetimes and modified dose dependence of the intensity decay.
Adam I. Barker, Robert J. Southworth-Davies, Karthik S. Paithankar, Ian Carmichael & Elspeth F. Garman.
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2009) 16, 205-216.

* Determination of X-ray flux using silicon pin diodes.
Robin L. Owen, James M. Holton, Clemens Schulze-Briese, & Elspeth F. Garman.
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (2009) 16, 143-151.

* Crystal structures of fibronectin-binding sites from Staphylococcus aureus FnBPA in complex with fibronectin domains".
Richard J. Bingham, Enrique Rudiño-Piñera, Nicola A.G. Meenan, Ulrich Schwarz-Linek, Johan P. Turkenburg, Magnus Höök, Elspeth F. Garman* & Jennifer R. Potts*.
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci (2008) 105, 12254-12258

* Observation of decreased radiation damage at higher dose rates in room temperature protein crystallography.
Robert J. Southworth-Davies, Melissa A. Medina, Ian Carmichael, and Elspeth F. Garman.
Structure (2007) 15, 1341-1351.

* The solution and crystal structures of a module pair from the Staphylococcus aureus-binding site of human fibronectin - a tale with a twist.
Enrique Rudiño-Piñera, Raimond B.G. Ravelli, George M. Sheldrick, Max H. Nanao, Vladimir V. Korostelev, Joern M. Werner,
Ulrich Schwarz-Linek, Jennifer R. Potts & Elspeth F. Garman.
Journal of Molecular Biology (2007) 368, 833-844


President of the British Crystallographic Association (BCA). 2009-2012.
Rowing half-blue (Osiris 1978)

The Fellowship: Interviewed

A Life at the Heart of X-Ray Crystallography

Click here to read an interview with Professor Garman by Editor of Oxford Today, Richard Lofthouse


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