Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Professor of Biochemistry

4 South 1.35


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386509


Prof Michael Danson 


Current Research

Extremophiles are organisms that inhabit extreme environments of temperature (-2 to 15ºC and 55° to 110°C), salinity, pressure and/or anaerobicity. Therefore, their macromolecules are designed to withstand these extreme conditions, and our research programme aims to understand the structural basis of extremophile enzyme stability, in particular to temperature and salinity. Our experimental approaches include enzymology, molecular biology, X-ray crystallography, site-directed mutagenesis and directed evolution.

We are also interested in the biotechnological application of enzymes from extremophiles, exploiting their high stabilities to extreme conditions. Many extremophiles belong to the Archaea, an evolutionary distinct domain in addition to the Eukarya and Bacteria. Archaea are known to possess unusual metabolic features, and therefore we are also aiming to exploit their enzymes that have unique catalytic specificities. Part of this programme involves the isolation, from environmental samples, of novel extremophilic micro-organisms according to their metabolic and enzymic capabilities.


To understand the structural basis of protein stability in extremophiles, and to explore the biotechnological potential of enzymes from these organisms.


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