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Nano scale transport: getting across the membranes of our cells

Professor Bernadette Byrne explores her research in her inaugural lecture.

  • Wednesday 20th March 2019 17:30 (1 hour)
  • Event
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The lecture is free to attend and open to all, but registration via Eventbrite is required in advance.


All cells in the body are surrounded by a largely impermeable membrane. It will be familiar to many of us from school, as the line that was drawn around diagrams of the cell, inside of which all the exciting things happened. However, there is a great deal of important work being carried out by, and inside that line. Membrane proteins have major roles in everything from the uptake of essential nutrients, and the export of toxins and waste products, to mediating cellular responses to drugs.

However, our understanding of these important proteins and their vital work is currently limited by a lack of high resolution structural information. As a result, drugs targeting them are often sub-optimal.

Bernadette Byrne, Professor of Molecular Membrane Biology at Imperial College London, is exploring the structural organisation of atoms inside these proteins, so we can explain how they move and operate, and therefore how we can exploit them for future human health benefits. In her inaugural lecture she will describe a career advancing understanding of particular groups of membrane proteins and the development of novel methodologies for working with them.


Bernadette Byrne is Professor in Molecular Membrane Biology at Imperial College London. Following a PhD in reproductive endocrinology at the University of Aberdeen she undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at the MRC Reproductive Biology Unit in Edinburgh focusing on the overexpression of a membrane receptor. This started an interest in the study of integral membrane proteins and led to a further post-doctoral position in Sweden working with Prof So Iwata at Uppsala University and Pharmacia-Upjohn in Stockholm. She then returned to the UK taking up a Lectureship position at Imperial College in 2001. Her research group is funded by the BBSRC, EPSRC and the EU H2020 programme, and focuses primarily on investigation of the structure and function of integral membrane transporters and receptors.

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When and where?

Date:20 Mar 2019

Time:17:30 - 18:30

Venue:Lecture Theatre 1, Blackett Building

Campus:South Kensington Campus

Will I get anything for taking part?

A drinks reception will follow the lecture at 18.30 in the Blacket Building foyer.


  • Lecture Theatre 1, Blacket Building, South Kensington Campus
  • London

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