Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Professor  Mark Sansom

Mark Sansom

David Phillips Professor of Molecular Biophysics


I was born in Stourbridge and grew up in the West Midlands, and later on in West Yorkshire, where I attended a local grammar school in Normanton before going to University College, Oxford to study Biochemistry. So, right from the outset I benefitted from the tutorial system and from the Oxford Biochemistry course. I did my D.Phil. in protein structure with Prof. Louise Johnson (the previous David Phillips Professor of Molecular Biophysics at Corpus) before going to Nottingham University as a postdoctoral research fellow to work on ion channels. I stayed at Nottingham as a lecturer and then a research fellow for 7 years before returning to Oxford. I was a university lecturer in Biochemistry and a college tutor at Christ Church for 20 years. In 2011 I was made the David Phillips Professor of Molecular Biophysics, and moved to Corpus as a Professorial fellow. I am also currently the Head of the Biochemistry Department.


I head a research group of >20 people whose work is centred using computational approaches to understand on membrane protein structure and function. This work embraces applications ranging from bionanotechnology through to computational structural biology and systems biology of membranes. I am especially interested in multi-level molecular simulations of membrane proteins, addressing the ‘gap' between molecular and systems descriptions of membranes. I co-direct the Wellcome Trust funded Structural Biology doctoral training centre. Currently funded projects in my group include: ion channel structure/function studies (Wellcome Trust), membrane signalling mechanisms (Wellcome Trust; BBSRC), bacterial membrane transport proteins (BBSRC & EU), and multiscale simulations of membrane systems (BBSRC). I have played a role in developing UK high performance computing resources for biomolecular simulation applications, and chaired the HECToR (High End Computing Terascale Resource) Science Board, responsible for the procurement of the current UK national supercomputer. Overall, my research impacts on our understanding of membrane proteins, and is directly relevant to the pharmaceutical industry. I am currently an Associate Editor for Biochemistry with especial responsibility for computational biochemistry and membrane proteins.

Details of my group's research are at:


I lecture within the Biochemistry department on the relationship between structure and function in membrane proteins, and also on the use of computational methods to study proteins.

Major Publications

Psachoulia, E., Marshall, D., & Sansom, M.S.P. (2010) Molecular dynamics simulations of the dimerization of transmembrane α-helices. Acc. Chem. Res. 43: 388-396

Stansfeld, P.J., Hopkinson, R., Ashcroft, F.M. & Sansom, M.S.P. (2009) The PIP2 binding site in Kir channels: definition by multi-scale biomolecular simulations. Biochem. 48:10926-10933

Scott, K.A., Bond, P.J., Ivetac, A., Chetwynd, A.P., Khalid, S., and Sansom, M.S.P. (2008) Coarse-grained MD simulations of membrane protein/bilayer self assembly. Structure 16:621-630

Beckstein, O. and Sansom, M.S.P. (2003) Liquid-vapor oscillations of water in hydrophobic nanopores. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:7063-7068

Shrivastava, I.H. and Sansom, M.S.P. (2000) Simulations of ion permeation through a potassium channel: molecular dynamics of KcsA in a phospholipid bilayer Biophys. J. 78:557-570


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