Scientific Seminars

Below is a list of upcoming seminars at the LMB aimed at a general scientific audience and open to individuals throughout Cambridge. If you are not at the LMB and wish to attend a seminar, please contact Nikki Dominguez.

The LMB hosts ‘The LMB Seminar Series’, where 1-2 leading scientists per month are invited to speak throughout the year. Four of these lectures are named in honour of LMB Nobel Laureates Max Perutz, Francis Crick, César Milstein and John Kendrew, given by eminent scientists from around the world. The LMB Seminar talks and LMB Named Seminar talks are advertised widely throughout the local area and are open to all.

2017 LMB Seminar Series speakers (click to expand)

  • Margaret Goodell – 11:15am, 20th June 2017
  • Andreas Matouschek – 4pm, 3rd July
  • Chris Lima – 11am, 14th July
  • Patrick Cramer – 4pm, 5th September
  • Jack Szostak – 4pm, 7th September (Crick Lecture)
  • Susan Lea – 11am, 2nd October
  • Erin O’Shea – 11am, 15th November (Perutz Lecture)
  • Michelle Dunstone – 12th December


A full list of LMB Named Lectures to date can be found here.

Details of other local seminars can be found here

  • Molecular control of GPCR-based neuromodulation

    Speaker: Professor Kirill Martemyanov, The Scripps Research Institute, Dept of Neuroscience, Florida
    Host: Madan Babu Mohan, MRC LMB
    Date: 29/08/2017 at 2:00pm in the Klug Seminar Room, Level 2, LMB.

    Further information

    The G protein signaling pathways are responsible for a vast variety of neurotransmitter effects in the nervous system. Perhaps not surprisingly,they are allocated the largest number of genes in mammalian genomes and constitute the main target for drugs currently on the market. Yet, there is much to learn about molecular mechanisms pertaining to the organization and functional regulation of these systems. The focus will be on the mechanisms that control transmission of synaptic signals at GPCR based synapses in several model neuronal circuits: the ON pathway in the retina,the mesolimbic-striatal loop in basal ganglia and hippocampal CA1 region. Recent data data illustrate how variety of players including Regulator of G protein Signaling (RGS) proteins, orphan receptors and scaffolding proteins participate in shaping distinct aspects of physiological and behavioural properties mediates by these circuits with relevance to night blindness, drug addiction and memory formation.

  • How do proteins evolve?

    Speaker: Prof Dan Tawfik
    Host: Leo James
    Date: 31/08/2017 at 4:00pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • Integrated structural biology of gene transcription

    Speaker: Patrick Cramer, Max Planck Institute
    Host: Phil Holliger
    Date: 05/09/2017 at 4:00pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • Crick Lecture-The Surprising Chemistry of Nonenzymatic RNA Replication

    Speaker: Jack Szostak, Harvard, USA
    Host: Phil Holliger
    Date: 07/09/2017 at 4:00pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

    Further information

    The RNA genomes of the first cells are thought to have emerged from the nonenzymatic replication of short RNA strands, which allowed the first ribozymes to evolve, followed by the evolution of ribozyme catalyzed replication. However, no process for the replication of a nucleic acid genome, independent of evolved enzymatic machinery, has yet been described. Dr. Szostak will discuss his laboratory’s recent progress toward the realization of an efficient and accurate system for the chemical replication of RNA. Mechanistic and structural studies have led to new chemical replication systems that are both more prebiotically plausible and more accurate, efficient, and general.

  • Evolution of neural circuits generating species-specific courtship song in Drosophila

    Speaker: David Stern, Janelia Research Campus
    Host: Greg Jefferis
    Date: 19/09/2017 at 9:30am in the Klug Seminar Room, Level 2, LMB.

  • LMB Seminar Series- Title to follow

    Speaker: Gillian Griffiths
    Host: Sean Munro
    Date: 19/09/2017 at 11:00am in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • Close Species Comparative Genomics (CSCG) and Covolution

    Speaker: Professor Jong Park, Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology, South Korea
    Host: Julian Gough, MRC LMB
    Date: 22/09/2017 at 11:00am in the Klug Seminar Room, Level 2, LMB.

    Further information

    CSCG (close species comparative genomics) is an approach of finding causative and highly influencing genetic variations for functions in species.In comparing genomes, it is critical to select the approapriate genetic distances among the genomes to detect certain causative geno-phenotypes. For examples, to detect the exact causative genetic mutation for white tigers, it is necessary to compare very closely related tiger genomes with a clear phenotypical difference. To detect the causative mutation for deep diving whales, it is necessary to select a proper background genomes which do not dive. Causative mutations are thought to be naturally selected to be transmitted by individuals to the next generations. Darwinian natural selection is a powerful descriptive theory for the propagation of life. However, there are evidence of Lamarckian inheritance in terms of epigenomics. Evolution theory has been changing since the time of Darwin. I speculate that there are causative mutations that are directed by the functional and behavioural advancement before naturally occuring random variations. This hypothetical directed and computed evolutionary mechanism is termed covolution. Comparing genomes which are the history books of life can bring the most definite new insights on how organisms evolve with and against environment.

  • Next Generation Biophysics

    Speaker: various
    Host: AstraZeneca and LMB
    Date: 27/09/2017 at 9:00am in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

    Further information

    All information and registration here:

  • High-resolution AFM imaging of the organisation of proteins in native bacterial membranes.

    Speaker: Doctor Sandip Kumar, University of Sheffield
    Host: Chris Tate, MRC LMB
    Date: 28/09/2017 at 11:30am in the Milstein Seminar Room, Level 3, LMB.

    Further information

    Bacterial membranes are involved in multiple important functions like transportation, sensing, cell wall synthesis, etc. Most of these functions involve a supramolecular assembly of multiple proteins that interact with each other in ways that are strongly influenced by their spatial arrangement. Previously, AFM has been applied to native biological membranes that are flat (e.g. bacteriorhodopsin) or to membranes that had been flattened using detergents losing their native organisation (e.g. light-harvesting complex 2). Recent advances in AFM has made it possible to image native curved membranes. Chromatophores, vesicular photosynthetic membranes in Rhodobacter sphaeroides, were imaged in its native curved state at a resolution where even individual protein subunits are discernible (Kumar et al., ACS Nano, 2017, 11 (1), 126–133). As all chromatophores did not look the same, multiple chromatophores were imaged and the distances between the protein complexes were used to quantify their arrangement. These probable distances may assist in building an improved model of the system. Successive imaging of a chromatophore showed the proteins remain surprisingly static, with minimal rotation or translation. Novel, high order assemblies of RC-LH1-PufX complexes were observed, and intact ATPases were successfully imaged. The methods developed here are likely to be applicable to a broad range of protein rich native membrane systems and help understand their organisational functional relationship. AFM is an imaging technique which gives molecular and sub-molecular resolution with sufficient signal to noise such that averaging is not required. This gives it an advantage in imaging disordered systems. Some data will be presented showing the disordered architecture of biological surfaces like peptidoglycan cell wall of gram positive bacteria.

  • LMB Seminar-Title to follow

    Speaker: Susan Lea,
    Host: Andrew Carter
    Date: 02/10/2017 at 11:00am in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • Max Perutz Lecture

    Speaker: Erin O Shea, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Host: Liz Miller
    Date: 15/11/2017 at 11:00am in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • LMB Seminar Series- Title to follow

    Speaker: Erin O’Shea
    Host: Liz Miller
    Date: 15/11/2017 at 11:00am in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • Neural Mechanisms for Dynamic Acoustic Communication in Flies

    Speaker: Mala Murthy, Associate Professor, Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University
    Host: Greg Jefferis
    Date: 07/12/2017 at 10:30am in the Sanger Seminar Room, Level 3, LMB.

    Further information

    Social interactions require continually adjusting behavior in response to sensory feedback. For example, when having a conversation, sensory cues from our partner (e.g., sounds or facial expressions) affect our speech patterns in real time. Our speech signals, in turn, are the sensory cues that modify our partner’s actions. What are the underlying computations and neural mechanisms that govern these interactions? To address these questions, my lab studies the acoustic communication system of Drosophila. To our advantage, the fly nervous system is relatively simple, with a wealth of genetic tools to interrogate it. Importantly, Drosophila acoustic behaviors are highly quantifiable and robust. During courtship, males produce time-varying songs via wing vibration, while females arbitrate mating decisions. We discovered that, rather than being a stereotyped fixed action sequence, male song structure and intensity are continually sculpted by interactions with the female, over timescales ranging from tens of milliseconds to minutes – and we are mapping the underlying circuits and computations. We have also developed methods to relate song representations in the female brain to changes in her behavior, across multiple timescales. Our focus on natural acoustic signals, either as the output of the male nervous system or as the input to the female nervous system, provides a powerful, quantitative handle for studying the basic building blocks of communication.

  • Kendrew Lecture- Title to follow

    Speaker: Zhuang Xiawei
    Host: Chris Russo
    Date: 15/01/2018 at 4:00pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • The 6th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture

    Speaker: Professor Vamsi Mootha
    Host: MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
    Date: 22/02/2018 at 4:30pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • LMB Seminar Series- Title to follow

    Speaker: Steve Harrison
    Host: Yorgo Modis
    Date: 28/06/2018 at 4:00pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.

  • Perutz Lecture- Title to follow

    Speaker: Eric Gouaux
    Host: Chris Tate
    Date: 29/11/2018 at 4:00pm in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre, LMB.