Professor Neil Ranson
Understanding the structure of molecules is fundamental to our lives. It is helping us to advance knowledge about the causes of cancer, understanding diseases like Alzheimers and developing new medicines such as antibiotics.
Microscopy is key to this understanding and at Leeds we have two of the most powerful cryo-electron microscopes in the world. Cryo-electron microscopy has been around for 30 years and has been incredibly useful, but until recently the technology limited the biological questions which we could ask. Without the required level of detail, we sometimes struggled to fully understand the structure of biological molecules and how they function, especially when they are in their normal workplace, inside our cells.
However, the Titan Krios microscopes we now have in Leeds are absolutely state of the art and mean that these limitations have been shattered. Researchers can now image biological molecules with an incredible resolution. Crucially, well also be able to see how these molecules interact with each other.
Teaching at Leeds is fundamentally research-led. As a professor here its my job to feed the research developments into our teaching. Students here are getting the latest research. Were discovering new biology every day. They get to hear about that and potentially do projects connected to it.
The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology is an interdisciplinary research centre of the University of Leeds. It brings together over fifty academic staff from the faculties of biological sciences, physical sciences (chemistry and physics) and medicine, with the common goal of understanding life at an atomic level.