Professor Udo Oppermann obtained a Diploma in Human Biology in 1990 and PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1994, both with distinctions from Philipps University Marburg, Germany. He went on to become Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, in the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics where he stayed until 2004. After a sabbatical stay at Yale University, he has been a Principal Investigator of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) in Oxford since its inception in 2003. In 2008 he became Professor in Molecular Biology at the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences, and he is now Deputy Director of the Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, as well as a Fellow of St Catherine's College.
Epigenetics describes inherited and acquired modifications of DNA, histones and proteins, which play critical roles in the regulation of gene expression, in chromosome stability, genomic imprinting, and differentiation. Alterations in epigenetic signaling are involved in major diseases including cancer, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. A dissection of the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic signaling will be facilitated by the availability of small molecule chemical probes that are selective for specific components of the epigenetic machinery. Our research focuses on the biology and structure-activity relationships of human metabolic protein families of all types but with emphasis on oxidoreductases such as short- or medium chain dehydrogenases / reductases (SDR, MDR), or oxidative enzymes such as the ketoglutarate dependent oxygenases. The use of chemical and structural biology to understand human biology is a major focus of the group and is currently applied to the field of epigenetic mechanisms in mesenchymal stem cell and bone biology, as well as chronic inflammatory, malignant and metabolic diseases (for further details visit the Botnar Research Centre website).