Institute for Structural and Chemical Biology

Research opportunities

Dynamic Crystallography - XFELs and Synchrotrons to study enzyme reactions (UK/Japan meeting and workshop)

13 - 15 September 2023, Leicester, UK

Close up of an x-ray machineThere have been rapid advances in the last few years in our ability to exploit the XFELS and synchrotrons for time-resolved studies of enzyme mechanisms. Much of this has come about with the simultaneous developments in sample handling and delivery techniques along with data collection and processing.

The meeting, sponsored by the BBSRC Japan Partnering Award Scheme, aims to bring researchers from Japan who are developing these techniques together with researchers from the UK and our partners with similar interests to present and discuss prospects, progress and, of course, results. All with a view to establishing and furthering collaborations.

Local organisers

  • Hanna Kwon
  • Emma Raven
  • Peter Moody


Thursday 14 September 


  • How to make suitable samples to enable the study of transient or short-lived enzyme reaction stats.


  • How to monitor reactions in crystals.

Data collection

  • Strategies and protocols for the collection of diffraction and spectroscopic data.

Conference dinner at College Court

Friday 15 September

Data processing

  • Strategies, and protocols for the optimal recovery of high-quality data.

Analysis and interpretation

  • How to overcome temporal uncertainty with respect to reaction coordinates and how to interpret mixed populations.


  • Examples of the application of dynamic investigation of protein mechanisms using structural and spectroscopic techniques.


At the time of writing (23 March 2023) we have the following colleagues from Japan who will participate with titles of contributions where we have them:

  • Dr Hiroshi Sugimoto (SACLA Spring-8/RIKEN) “Dynamics of hydrogen atom revealed by ultra-high resolution structure of the heme acquisition protein”
  • Professor Takehiko Tosha (University of Hyogo) “Characterization of the short-lived reaction intermediate of NO reductase with caged substrate”
  • Professor Yoshitsugu Shiro (University of Hyogo)
  • Dr Hitomi Sawai (University of Nakasaki)
  • Professor Michihiro Suga (Okayama University)
  • Professor Minoru Kubo (University of Hyogo) “Time resolved spectroscopy for monitoring the protein dynamics in microcrystals”
  • Dr Tetsuo Katayama (Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute)  “Capability and activity of simultaneous measurements of XES and diffraction at SACLA”
  • Professor Tetsunari Kimura (Kobe University) “Development of the microfluidic mixer for time-resolved SFX and spectroscopy”

Speakers from Europe we currently have confirmed:

  • Pofessor Allen Orville (Hub at Diamond Light Source)
  • Dr Ivo Tews (University of Southampton)
  • Dr Mike Hough (Diamond Light Source)
  • Dr Briony Yorke (University of Leeds)  "Developing multiplexing methods for time-resolved crystallographic experiments"
  • Dr Robin Owen (Diamond Light Source) “Efficient sample delivery for time resolved SSX and SFX” (TBC)
  • Dr Thomas Ursby (MAX IV Laboratory)
  • Emily Freeman (University of Oxford) “Time-resolved macromolecular crystallography studies of AmpC from Escherichia coli using synchrotron and XFEL radiation”.

PhD opportunities  


External funding for PhD positions is available through the schemes below. Students who are interested in doing doctoral research at the Institute are encouraged to apply to these and get in touch with Dr Tennie Videler (email beforehand. We can support you to put in the strongest possible application as these are very competitive.


MIBTP is a BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) between the University of Warwick, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, Aston University and Harper Adams University with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity. 

MRC Advanced Inter-disciplinary Models (AIM)

AIM is a Doctoral Training Programme funded by the MRC between the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, and Leicester. Doctoral students benefit from a diverse range of skills within the cohort, stimulating students to think ‘outside the box’ and perform innovative, world-leading research. The partner universities contribute project ideas, which prospective doctoral students choose from. You need to check your eligibility and apply to both the University of Leicester and the DTP. 

Doctoral Training Programme

group photo of the 2022 intake of LISCB PhD students

To introduce PhD students to the full extent of technical capabilities and resources in the Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, we have established a doctoral training programme for each new PhD cohort. By following this training element in the research degree, we hope for students to develop independence and a critical way of thinking, and become equipped with technical expertise beyond the specific tools and method used in their projects. The first year of the training programme is focussed on building skills across a broad range of techniques in structural and chemical biology. Subsequent years of the training programme are focussed on transferable skills, building independence and preparation for post-degree careers.

The training programme will supplement other activities offered by the Doctoral College and schools and departments.


  • To equip students, who have undergraduate training in different subject disciplines, with a practical knowledge of the techniques used in structural and chemical biology.
  • To connect practical aspects of structural and chemical biology to theory, and thereby creating coherence to further the student’s understanding and aptitude to research at the interface of traditional academic disciplines.
  • To enable students to understand the place of their individual projects in the wider research context.
  • To enable students to gain greater independence as doctoral candidates and, thereby, being prepared for the next stage of their career.
  • To create a cohort of first-year PhD students, and increase the sense of community in the Institute.

Journal clubs

Journal clubs will take place on Friday mornings (9.00am, Common room) at the dates interleaved between the main session listed below. These will tie in with the subject material taught in the previous week. The journal club is open to all PhD students (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th years) in the Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, Chemistry, Respiratory Sciences and MCB.

Research in Progress seminars

Every Friday 12.30pm members of the department will give short presentations on their ongoing research.


Date Topic
14 October 2022

Introduction to Structural and Chemical Approaches to Biology

28 October 2022 Molecular biology I
11 November 2022 Molecular biology II
25 November 2022 Sample preparation protein and nucleic acid purification
9 December 2022 CryoEM from sample to grid to data to structure
13 January 2023 Biophysical techniques to explore biological systems
27 January 2023 X-ray from sample to crystal to data to structure
10 February 2023 NMR from sample to spectra to structure
24 February 2023 NMR dynamics
10 March 2023 Advanced fluorescence microscopy
24 March 2023 Single molecule microscopy I
21 April 2023 Single molecule microscopy II
5 May 2023 Methods and approaches in Chemical Biology molecular design, synthetic techniques
19 May 2023 Methods and approaches in Chemical Biology synthetic techniques
2 June 2023 Numerical skills training
Python programming
16 June 2023 Machine learning/AI
30 June 2023 Bioinformatics
14 July 2023 Applying structural and chemical biology to clinical research and drug discovery

Job opportunities

We are always looking to explore options of gaining fantastic new colleagues. Please get in touch with Tennie at or individual academics to discuss.

Why the Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology?

Profit from the informed teaching fuelled by the cutting-edge research at the Institute

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