Christopher M. Dobson

University of Cambridge

Election Year: 2013
Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Foreign Associate


Chris Dobson was an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Oxford, and received his doctorate in 1976. He moved to Harvard University in 1977 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and was also a Visiting Scientist at MIT. He then returned in the early 1980s to the University of Oxford, first as a Lecturer in Chemistry and later as Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences. In 2001 he moved to the University of Cambridge as John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology. In 2007 he was also elected as Master of St John's College, Cambridge.

Research Interests

Chris Dobson's research activities throughout his career have been focused at the interfaces of the physical, biological and medical sciences. He has made a wide range of important contributions to our understanding of the structure and dynamics of proteins, and in a series of seminal studies he has transformed our knowledge of the mechanism of protein folding, a key step in the translation of genetic information into biological function, and of protein misfolding, a process that is now known to be the origin of some of the most debilitating medical disorders in the modern world, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and type II diabetes. Through the highly innovative exploitation of a wide variety of biophysical and biochemical techniques he has in particular developed a fundamentally new paradigm for understanding the nature of protein misfolding and its consequences, and hence of the underlying generic origins of the diseases with which it is associated. His research has provided a molecular explanation of the recent dramatic proliferation of these highly debilitating disorders and established the foundations for the novel and rational discovery of vitally important therapeutic strategies for their prevention and cure.

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