School of Chemistry

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 synthesis.

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Expertise Summary

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. 

Research Summary

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, 111, 4019.

    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, 7.

    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, 1784.

    Loenarz C & Schofield CJ. Expanding chemical biology of 2-oxoglutarate oxygenases. Nat. Chem. Biol., 2008, 4, 152.

    School of Chemistry

    University Park Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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