Birkbeck’s Annual Science Week 2024, 29th May – 3rd June

Birkbeck’s Annual Science Week 2024, 29th May – 3rd June

Join us for Birkbeck’s Annual Science Week festival at the Faculty of Science  which runs from Wednesday 29th – Monday 3rd June 2024 in-person and online.

This is not one to be missed, where we will host engaging and interactive evening events, including the annual Rosalind Franklin Lecture and the Andrew and Kathleen Booth Memorial Lecture.

All events will continue into the evening with opportunities to take a tour of our laboratories on the Wednesday and explore poster exhibitions presented by Natural Sciences (Wednesday), Computing and Mathematical Sciences (Thursday) and Psychological Sciences (Friday).

Attendees will be able to meet the speaker, as well as current faculty researchers and students over a drinks reception which will follow each School event.

Book your place, don’t miss out! 

Science week 2024


Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Events
“Can We Trust Computers?” Event at the London	Science Museum, 9th May

“Can We Trust Computers?” Event at the London Science Museum, 9th May

Dive into the intriguing world of technological trust with us at the Science Museum’s thought-provoking event, “Can We Trust Computers?”. Join us on Thursday, 9 May 2024, from 18:30 to 19:30, at the IMAX: The Ronson Theatre, for a captivating panel discussion featuring leading experts like Dr. Alessandra Vizzaccaro and Professors Paul Brenner, Tim Palmer, and Peter Coveney, chaired by BBC broadcaster and journalist, Timandra Harkness.

We tackle pressing questions surrounding AI, computer reliability, and the complexities of digital versus analogue worlds. Is it prudent to entrust nuclear weapons to AI? This event promises a deep exploration into these vital questions, framed by real-world implications and expert insights.

Tickets are just £5, and doors open at 18:00. Reserve your spot now for an evening of engaging dialogue on the future of our trust in computers.

For more details and to book your tickets, please visit the Science Museum’s event page: Can We Trust Computers?.


Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Events
Bernal Lecture 2024 at Birkbeck, 9th May

Bernal Lecture 2024 at Birkbeck, 9th May

When: — Venue: Birkbeck Clore Management Centre

Book your place

The School of Natural Sciences at Birkbeck are delighted to invite you to this annual lecture in memory of Professor JD Bernal.
Established in 1968, this annual lecture commemorates JD Bernal – Professor of Physics at Birkbeck from 1938 and then Chair of Crystallography in 1963. In line with Bernal’s interests in structural biology, X-ray crystallography and, especially, the social consequences of science, this year we are pleased to welcome Professor Ravindra Gupta, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Cambridge, for a talk titled “SARS CoV-2 : keeping up with an unprecedented pathogen“.

The SARS CoV-2 pandemic was unique in many ways, and the virus continues to surprise us with its ability to adapt and evolve. This is driven largely by an ability to persist in immune compromised individuals. In this talk we will explore how variants of concern arise and how we can stay ahead to prevent ongoing morbidity and mortality

This event is free to attend but booking is essential.

Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Events
Generative AI Day for Life Sciences London, 19th October 2023

Generative AI Day for Life Sciences London, 19th October 2023

NVIDIA is hosting an event about AI in drug discovery. Discuss your next AI breakthroughs across topics like drug discovery, medical image analysis, genomics and personalized medicine, and more. The half-day event begins with check-in at 4pm and ends with an opportunity to network with experts at 8pm.

There will be demos & learning sessions about LLMs for biomolecular design. Vice President of NVIDIA Healthcare, Kimberly Powell, will moderate a panel with Laksh Aithani (CEO from Charm Therapeutics), Dr. Lindsay Edwards (CTO from Relation Therapeutics) and Nihal Sinha (Partner at F-Prime Ventures).

            Reserve your seat on

Location will be shared once your seat is confirmed.



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ISMB Special Event: Prof. Enrico Bucci, 27th September 2023

ISMB Special Event: Prof. Enrico Bucci, 27th September 2023

We are pleased to announce an ISMB Special Event taking place on Wednesday, 27th September 2023. 


Title: The Industry of Science Fraud 


Guest speaker: Prof. Enrico Bucci, Temple University College of Science and Technology 

Host: Prof. Franca Fraternali 

Date: 27 September 2023 

Time: 2-3pm

Venue: JZ Young Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building



The event will kick off with an introduction by Prof. Franca Fraternali, the Director of ISMB. Prof. Enrico Bucci will deliver a talk about “The industry of science fraud”. The talk will be followed by a discussion and a Q & A session, steered by Prof. Fraternali and Prof. Kostas Thalassinos. There will be drinks and a networking session at the end of the event. 


Everyone is welcome to attend, we look forward to seeing you all at the Special Event!

Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Events
ISMB LiDO Showcase, 26th September 2023

ISMB LiDO Showcase, 26th September 2023

The ISMB LiDO showcase will be held on Tuesday, 26th September 2023, from 11am to 4pm. Venue of the showcase is Room MAL G16, Birkbeck main building.

The event will start with a welcome coffee at 11am, followed by an introduction to ISMB by Prof. Franca Fraternali, Director of ISMB.

There will be multiple 10 min presentations by a diverse group of PIs through out the day, ending at 4pm.


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Seminar by Dr Stephen Fried from John Hopkins University on 18th September 2023

Seminar by Dr Stephen Fried from John Hopkins University on 18th September 2023

Christine Orengo and John Christodoulou will be hosting a seminar by Dr Stephen Fried on 18th September 2023.

Speaker: Dr Stephen Fried, John Hopkins University

Date: Monday, 18th September 2023

Time: 1-2pm

Location: Birkbeck Central Building, Room BCB307

Title: How to Fold Every Protein – Proteome-Wide Measurements of Folding Call for a Post-Anfinsen Paradigm


Though protein folding has been at the heart of biophysical research for several decades, our knowledge of the topic is deep but narrow – we “know” a lot about a sparse set of “model” proteins that conform to Anfinsen’s thermodynamic hypothesis.  Leveraging the power of structural proteomics, work in our lab has endeavored to interrogate protein folding and refolding globally, sensitively, and (for some applications) in vivo.  We found that many E. coli proteins cannot efficiently return to their native structures following complete denaturation, and nonrefoldable proteins over-represent a particular set of biophysical and topological features that have been traditionally excluded from folding research.  Proteins from yeast are strikingly more refoldable than E. coli proteins despite their greater size and complexity, a difference that we find can be attributed to the higher levels of intrinsic disorder in yeast proteins and their requirement for facile retrieval from biomolecular condensates.  Nonrefoldability is connected to and explains a broad range of phenomena, such as the requirement of certain proteins to fold cotranslationally and kinetic stability, and may explain – in part – the molecular basis of cognitive decline associated with aging.

About the speaker:

Stephen Fried is a native of Kansas City.  He received two S.B. degrees (2009) from MIT in chemistry and physics and completed his doctoral training at Stanford under the mentorship of Prof. S. G. Boxer in 2014. As a graduate student, Stephen’s research focused on understanding the physical principles underpinning enzymes’ catalytic power. From 2014 to 2018, Stephen was a Junior Research Fellow of King’s College and conducted research at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, United Kingdom. In Cambridge, his research focus shifted to chemical and synthetic biology. Stephen joined the Department of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University in 2018 as an Assistant Professor, where he also holds appointments in the Departments of Biophysics and Biology.  His lab develops and applies tools in structural proteomics to study protein folding globally, sensitively, and with high structural resolution. Stephen has been the recipient of the HFSP Young Investigator Award, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and a Cottrell Scholarship.  In 2023, he was named a Future of Biophysics speaker by the Biophysical Society.

Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Events, News
Special Seminar by Thomas Löhr, Molecular AI group at AstraZeneca, on Monday 19th June

Special Seminar by Thomas Löhr, Molecular AI group at AstraZeneca, on Monday 19th June

Everyone is invited to a special ISMB seminar given by Dr Thomas Löhr from the Molecular AI group at AstraZeneca. This seminar is hosted by Gabriella Heller.

Speaker: Dr Thomas Löhr

Title: Computational tools to study disordered proteins, small molecules, and their interactions

Date & Time:   19th June, 3-4pm

Location: Anatomy Building, Room 249

Abstract: Disordered proteins and regions are highly prevalent in the human proteome, and are often implicated in disease. However, methods to study these systems in detail are lacking, and the potential for thermodynamic and kinetic characterisation using experimental methods is limited. Molecular simulations and associated analysis methods have advanced to the point where investigating disordered proteins and their interactions with other (bio-) molecules on an atomistic scale is now possible. I will first talk about the use of integrative structural methods to study systems ranging from small disordered peptides to large amyloid fibril fragments using data from nuclear magnetic resonance and cryo-EM. By combining a Bayesian approach (Metainference) with enhanced sampling techniques (Metadynamics) we are able to efficiently acquire a conformational ensemble of systems that would otherwise remain elusive. Next, I will present work to determine the kinetics of Amyloid-β 42, an aggregation-prone biomolecule implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, and its interactions with small molecules. By dynamically binding to the disordered monomeric state of the protein, a drug-like molecule can slow downstream aggregation processes, demonstrating the feasibility of directly drugging dynamic biomolecules. This was accomplished using ultra-long timescale molecular dynamics simulations combined with a deep-learning based Markov model approach. Finally, I will explain ongoing efforts to integrate molecular dynamics and similar approaches into automated drug discovery pipelines to improve our coverage of chemical space and make the design-make-test-analyze cycle more efficient by guiding small molecule generative models.

Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Seminars
Postgraduate Research Symposium, 15-16th June 2023

Postgraduate Research Symposium, 15-16th June 2023

This year’s ISMB Postgraduate Research Symposium was held at the Birkbeck Clore Management Centre, on 15th and 16th June. The symposium provides an opportunity to find out about the research studies of PhD students within the ISMB. The second day of the symposium featured a talk by keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Blackman from The Francis Crick Institute. The title of Dr. Blackman’s talk is ‘Malaria parasite egress from the host red blood cell: a tale of PKG, proteases and puzzles’. 

Thank you to all the students who participated in this year’s symposium and congratulations to the winners:

Best Poster – Yvette Levray-Szabados, “The unconventional trafficking mechanisms of exported transmembrane-like proteins in Plasmodium”

Best 1st Year Talk – Rita Ramalhete, “The Type VI Secretion System effector toxicity towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Best 3rd Year Talk – Sarah Vickers, “Investigating the Misfolding Pathways of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin using Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry”

Photos to follow.

ISMB Postgraduate Research Symposium 2023 – Programme and abstracts booklet

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10th ISMB Retreat 2023

10th ISMB Retreat 2023

The biennial ISMB Retreat is returning this year on 4th – 5th July, at Clare College Cambridge. This year’s retreat will feature keynote speakers such as Sir Tom Blundell (University of Cambridge), Professor Charlotte Deane (University of Oxford Department of Statistics), Professor Sonia Gandhi (The Francis Crick Institute Neurodegeneration Biology Laboratory), Dr Jan Lowe (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology), Dr Stacey Southall (Sosei Heptares), Professor Finn Werner (ISMB) and Luigi Martino (Wellcome Trust).

ISMB Retreat Programme 2023

Posted by Cyndy Thooi in Events