This article is part of the network’s archive of useful research information. This article is closed to new comments due to inactivity.  We welcome new content which can be done by submitting an article for review or take part in discussions in an open topic or submit a blog post to take your discussions online.


The Nuffield Department of Medicine in the University of Oxford celebrated in 2014 the International Year of Crystallography by creating the documentary series Revolutionary Biology. These videos explain how the field of structural biology has developed over the past 100 years.

Part 1. The Building Blocks of Life

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells. To make sure that our bodies work correctly, our cells have to talk to each other – a pretty daunting task. So how do our cells communicate?


Part 2. The History of Structural Biology

Understanding the function of a protein is an important step in finding out why the body succumbs to disease – but how do scientists find these proteins and figure out how they work?


Part 3. Advanced Technology

Just over a decade ago a devastating outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease led to the enforced slaughter and incineration of over 10 million livestock across the UK. While this mass culling halted the spread of disease in the UK, the fight against Foot and Mouth continues to this day, predominately in developing countries. Fortunately, cutting edge structural biology research is paving the way for a new vaccine, set to revolutionise farming on a global scale.


Part 4. A new age of drug discovery

Life changing drugs, which were once unthinkable – like antibiotics, insulin and the contraceptive pill – are now commonplace. But there’s still so much we don’t know about the medicines we take. And if we don’t know how existing drugs work, how can we design better ones?