Hi, I'm Alistair, a graduate student at the University of Oxford

Please explore my website below where you find out about my research, my background and my passions.

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I am currently pursuing my doctoral studies as part of the Deane group within the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford. My research investigates whether there is structural information contained within mRNA sequence above and beyond the mere specification of the amino acid; though please see below for a more in-depth explanation. My specialisations include structural biology, bioinformatics, programming and statistical analysis.


As life first appeared on this planet, we can assume that the primitive genetic code was both smaller and simpler than that seen today. My research asks why this increase in complexity stopped at just 20 amino acids when there are 64 codons? Why are there not 64 amino acids for 64 codons, one for each, thereby allowing for even greater control and variation in the protein product? Why does degeneracy still exists within the genetic code? My hypothesis and work is based on the combined theory of codon optimality and cotranslational folding, that the choice of codon directly affects the translation efficiency of the ribosome. Consequently, different codons give the nascent polypeptide chain varying amounts of time to explore the fold-space and as such the choice of codon directly affects the final structure of protein.


2012-Present: D.Phil. in Life Science Interfaces

Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

2007-2012: Masters of Chemical Physics with Industrial Experience

Department of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

2010-2011: International Exchange Student

Department of Chemistry, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Research Experience

2013-present: Doctoral Student at University of Oxford

Using bioinformatics to investigate the structural information contained within mrna above and beyond the mere specification of the amino acid.

2015: Visiting Reseracher at UCB

Building a web platform for the identification and tracking of disruptive technologies.

2013: Rotation Student at University of Oxford

Developing a new mathematical framework for cellular modelling that captures the physical properties of monolayers.

2011-2012: Masters Student at University of Edinburgh

Determination of the hydrogenation pathway of ethylene on a Pt(111) surface using first-principle techniques.

2011: Visiting Academic at UC Berkeley

Exploring the possibilities of using polarisation in ultrafast Raman spectroscopy to reduce the HL(III) and HL(IV) contributions to the spectrum.

2011: Student Researcher at A*STAR Institute fo High Performance Computing

Theory and simulations of solute cage formation around dissolved gasses and determination of partial molar volumes.

2010-2011: Student Researcher at Nanyang Technological University

Theory and simulations of the effects of polarisation in ultrafast Raman spectroscopy on third order cascade effects observed in deuterated chloroform.

2009: Research Assistant at Max-Planck Institute for Iron Research

Theoretical and experimental study of binary and tertiary metal gradients created using physical vapour deposition. Subsequent electrochemical characterisation performed using a scanning droplet cell.


Variation and decomposition of the partial molar volume of small gas molecules in different organic solvents derived from molecular dynamics simulations, M. Klahn, A. Martin, D. W. Cheong and M. V. Garland, The Journal of Chemical Physics, 139:244506 (2013)

Theoretical simulation and preparation of binary and ternary combinatorial libraries by thermal PVD, S. Klemm, A. Martin, J. Lengsfeld, J. Schauer, B. Schuhmacher and A. Hassel, Physica Status Solidi A, 207:801-606 (2010)

International Conferences

  • Poster at ISMB, Dublin, Ireland (2015)
  • Poster at 3DSIG, Dublin, Ireland (2015)
  • Speaker & Poster at ISMB, Boston, USA (2014)
  • Poster at 3DSIG, Boston, USA (2014)
  • Poster at id2, Oxford, United Kingdom (2014)
  • Speaker at Universitas 21, Shanghai, China (2011)
  • Poster at Singapore Catalysis Forum, Singapore (2011)


  • Selected oral poster presenter at ISMB (2014)
  • EPSRC D.Phil. studentship (2012 to 2016)
  • Stinglingshire educational trust travel scholarship (2011)
  • University of Edinburgh Barson bequest (2011)
  • ASEM DUO-Singapore exchange fellowship (2010)
  • DAAD-RISE summer internship (2009)
  • Pre-honours certificate of merit: Physics (2009)


The easiest way to contact me is via my email address

You can also write to me at my college's address

Lastly, feel free to connect with me through linkedin