The Revd Professor Robert GilbertBack to People

Subjects: Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine
Department: Biochemistry and Medicine
College appointment: Tutorial Fellow
Officer: Tutor for Welfare
Phone: 01865 276070


After a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Durham, Robert Gilbert researched for a PhD at Leicester University in the Departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Immunology. He came to Oxford as a post-doc in the Division of Structural Biology and in 2002 became Tutor in Biochemistry at Magdalen. He has since held in addition a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (2004-2012) and is now Professor of Biophysics in the Nuffield Department of Medicine and Director of the University’s Medical Sciences Graduate School.

His book “Science and the Truthfulness of Beauty” is published by Routledge.


Director of studies in Biochemistry, teaching molecular cell biology in the first year and, for the degree Part I: biomolecular structure and function, biophysical and structural techniques, and aspects of cell biology and metabolic integration. Organiser of the MBiochem Part II option in Advanced Structural Biology. Teaching is also provided to students reading Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Research Interests

Structural and biophysical methods applied to biomedically-important cellular processes. A particular focus is the control of miRNA maturation and degradation in the cell, which has relevance for a broad range of cancers due to the “master switching” role played by miRNAs in cellular differentiation and stem cell biology. Other areas of study are membrane pore formation by proteins of the membrane attack complex/perforin and cholesterol-dependent cytolysin family, and the regulation of membrane adhesion to other cells at the extracellular matrix.

Selected Publications

  1. Namy, O, Moran, SJ, Stuart, DI, Gilbert, RJC and Brierley, I (2006). A mechanical explanation of RNA pseduoknot function in programmed ribosomal frameshifting. Nature 441, 244-247.
  2. Praper, T, Sonnen, AF-P, Kladnik, A, Adrighetti, A, Viero, G, Morris, KJ, Volpi, E, Lunelli, L, Dalla Serra, M, Froelich, CJ, Gilbert, RJC, Anderluh, G (2011) Perforin activity at membranes leads to invaginations and vesicle formation. Proc. Nat’l Acad. Sci. USA 108, 21016-21021.
  3. Yates, L.A., Lumb, C.N., Brahme, N.N., Zalyte, R., Bird, L.E., De Colibus, L., Owens, R.J., Calderwood, D.A., Sansom, M.S.P. and Gilbert, R.J.C. (2012) Structural and functional characterisation of the kindlin-1 pleckstrin homology domain. J. Biol. Chem. 287 43246-43261.
  4. Yates, LA, Fleurdepine, S, Rissland, O, De Colibus, L, Harlos, K, Norbury, CJ, Gilbert, RJC (2012) Structural Basis for the Activity of a Cytoplasmic RNA Terminal U-transferase. Nature Struct. Mol. Biol. 19, 782-787.
  5. Yates, L.A., Norbury, C.J. and Gilbert, R.J.C. (2013) The long and short of miRNA. Cell 153, 516-520.