Dr. Christoph Loenarz
Christoph Loenarz completed his PhD in Biochemistry in 2010
at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar under the supervision of Prof.
Chris Schofield FRS. His PhD research investigated molecular mechanisms by
which cells respond to changes in oxygen levels. In 2010, Dr. Loenarz was elected
to the William R Miller Junior Research Fellowship in Molecular Aspects of
Biology, where he identified novel oxygen-sensitive pathways regulating
cellular protein synthesis which are conserved from mammals to bacteria. In
collaboration with colleagues in Cambridge, he investigated how specific virus
proteins modulate the host cell’s hypoxic response. In 2012, Dr. Loenarz was
awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship and elected to a Fellowship
by Special Election at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In 2015, he was appointed
Assistant Professor in Chemical Biology at the University of Nottingham, where his
research principally focuses on (i) pushing the frontiers in epigenetics
research by investigating connections between post-translational modifications
such as histone lysine methylation and metabolic pathways of pathophysiological
relevance, and (ii) extending his recent high profile identification of an
oxygen-dependent mechanism that enables modulation of the accuracy of protein
Employed techniques encompass organic synthesis, chemical biology approaches (proteomics, intact protein mass spectrometry, enzymology and reporter assays), and cellular studies using yeast genetics and human cell culture.
PhD studentships: A number of fully-funded PhD studentships are available to start in the group in 2015 and 2016. Interested graduate students should contact Dr. Loenarz for further details. Additional opportunities are available through entry via the BBSRC DTP in Biotechnology and Biological Sciences or the CDT in Sustainable Chemistry.
Final-year projects & summer placements: Projects are available in the broad areas of chemical biology and synthetic organic chemistry.
EU Marie Curie Fellowships: European Union PhD holders interested in joining the group via Marie Curie or other fellowships should also contact Dr. Loenarz directly.
Dr. Loenarz has an emerging track record in chemical biology
and interdisciplinary biosciences, having published >30 highly cited peer
reviewed papers (h-index 17; >1,000 citations in total; January 2015).
His research interests span basic science questions such as
investigating connections between epigenetic histone modifications and
metabolic pathways, the regulation of mRNA translation through ribosomal protein
modifications, the properties of dihydroxyproline containing proteins, and the
effect of nucleic acid modifications on gene expression.
Projects have been supported by the BBSRC since 2011, and
through the Leverhulme Trust, CRUK, and the EPSRC.
Loenarz C, et al. Hydroxylation of the ribosomal
decoding centre affects translational accuracy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2014,
Mazzon M, et al. A mechanism for induction of a
hypoxic response by vaccinia virus. Proc.
Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2013, 110, 12444.
Ge W, et al. Oxygenase-catalyzed ribosome
hydroxylation occurs in prokaryotes and humans. Nat. Chem. Biol.,
2012, 8, 960.
Loenarz C, et al. The hypoxia-inducible
transcription factor pathway regulates oxygen sensing in the simplest animal, Trichoplax adhaerens. EMBO Rep., 2011, 12, 63.
Loenarz C & Schofield CJ. Physiological and
biochemical aspects of hydroxylations and demethylations catalyzed by human
2-oxoglutarate oxygenases. Trends
Biochem. Sci., 2011, 36,
Loenarz C, et al. PHF8,
a gene associated with cleft lip/palate and mental retardation, encodes for an Ne-dimethyl
lysine demethylase. Hum. Mol.
Gen., 2010, 19, 217.
Loenarz C, et al. Evidence for a stereoelectronic
effect in human oxygen sensing. Angew.
Chem. Intl. Ed., 2009, 48,
Loenarz C & Schofield CJ. Expanding chemical biology of
2-oxoglutarate oxygenases. Nat.
Chem. Biol., 2008, 4,