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. Teaching is also provided to students reading Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Research Interests

Structural and biophysical methods applied to biomedically-important cellular processes. One focus is the control of miRNA maturation and degradation in the cell, which has relevance for a broad range of cancers, metabolism, inflammation and innate viral immunity. The other main focuses of the lab are membrane pore formation by proteins of the membrane attack complex/perforin and cholesterol-dependent cytolysin family involved in infection, immunity and development; 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. 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.
3. Ni T., Kalli A., Naughton F., Yates L.A., Naneh O., Kozorog M., Anderluh G., Sansom M.S.P., Gilbert R.J.C. (2017) Structure and lipid binding properties of the kindlin-3 pleckstrin homology domain. Biochem J. 474:539-556.
4. Ni T., Williams S.I., Rezelj S., Anderluh G., Harlos K., Stansfeld P.J., Gilbert R.J.C. Structures of monomeric and oligomeric forms of the Toxoplasma gondii perforin-like protein 1. Sci. Adv. 4, eaaq0762 (2018)
5. Ni, T, Jiao, F, Yu, X, Aden, S, Ginger, L, Williams, SI, Bai, F, Pražák, V, Karia, D, Stansfeld, PJ, Zhang, P, Munson, G, Anderluh, G, Scheuring, S and Gilbert, RJC Structure and mechanism of bactericidal mammalian perforin-2, an ancient agent of innate immunity. (2020) Sci. Adv. 6, eaax8286.