Skip to content
Fellows Directory

Ben Berks

Ben Berks

Professor Ben Berks FRS

Fellow


Elected: 2020

Contact:

wwwhttps://www.bioch.ox.ac.uk/research/berks

ORCID0000-0001-9685-4067

Biography

Ben Berks is a biochemist who studies how bacteria secrete proteins across their cell envelope.

Ben is a co-discoverer of the bacterial Tat (twin-arginine translocation) system. Tat is now known to be the second most widely distributed protein transport system in biology and is essential for the virulence of bacterial pathogens and for plant photosynthesis. Very unusually, Tat is able to transport fully folded proteins across membranes while preventing the leak of ions and small molecules. Together with many valued colleagues, Ben has pursued multidisciplinary efforts to understand how this is achieved. These have included the pioneering use of single molecule fluorescence to image protein transport processes in live bacteria. More recently he has identified and characterized the protein transporter of the Type IX Secretion System involved in protein export by dental pathogens. Ben has also made significant contributions to our understanding of Tat-targeted enzymes involved in the metabolism of inorganic nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus species.

Ben is a recipient of the Fleming Award of the Microbiology Society and is a Wellcome Trust Investigator.

Professional positions

Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biochemistry and molecular biology, Biophysics and structural biology, Molecular microbiology
  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
    • General microbiology (incl bacteriology and virology)

Keywords

Protein transport, Live cell single molecule fluorescence

Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.