Philip Biggin

Philip Biggin
Department of Biochemistry, Computational Approaches to Receptor Dynamics and Ligand-Binding, University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom

Speaker of Workshop 4

Will talk about: Classification, structure and function of neural membrane proteins

Bio sketch:

Philip Biggin is the RCUK Fellow in Structural Bioinformatics in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford.  His first degree was in Computer-aided Chemistry at the University of Surrey, but his research interests in biochemistry led him to pursue a PhD in the molecular biophysics of ion channels at the University of Oxford.

After a period of post-doctoral research as a Wellcome Trust International Fellow at the Salk Institute in San Diego, he returned back to Oxford, to continue to investigate structure and function of ion channels using computational methods. His research interests lie in receptor-ligand interactions, comparative dynamics of proteins and bioinformatics of ligand-gated ion channels.

He is the author of over 33 peer-reviewed papers and sits on the Oxford Supercomputing Centre management committee. He is a committee member of the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the British Biophysical Society, the Biochemical Society, and the US Biophysical Society.

Talk abstract:

At the very bottom of the enormous complexity that defines neuroinformatics are molecules. An understanding of the detailed nature of these molecules and how they interact with each other is required if we are to be able to not only develop better higher-level models but also improve prospects for rational drug-design.

One of the central problems related to our understanding of neuronal membrane proteins is the fact that they are embedded within a membrane. This has impeded biophysical characterization of these molecules. Nevertheless, in recent years there has been much progress at the molecular level and there is now a substantial amount of structural information available for many neuro-receptors. Complementary to these experimental approaches, there have been significant contributions from computational biochemistry groups using molecular dynamics simulations to gain insight into how these proteins perform their function and undergo conformational change.

In this session we will discuss some of the recent structural and computational work performed at the atomic level and what the future challenges are, including how to link this knowledge into higher-level models.

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