David Stuart

Prof David Stuart currently holds two positions; Joint Head of the Division of Structural Biology at the University of Oxford and the Life Sciences Director at Diamond Light Source, where he pursues interests in Synchrotron radiation. Prof Stuart is also the Director of INSTRUCT, a pan-European infrastructure project which develops and provides access to cutting edge technologies for integrative Structural Biology.
Prof Stuart’s principal research interests include the structure of viruses, viral proteins and cellular proteins, especially those that interact with viruses. Over a number of years, in addition to structures of a large number of proteins and protein complexes his group has determined the structures of a wide range of viruses, including foot-and-mouth disease virus using novel hybrid phasing methods to reveal the mechanism of immune evasion and receptor binding. During the 1990’s Prof Stuart and his team tackled the large double stranded RNA viruses, determining the atomic structure of the bluetongue virus core that revealed fundamental insights into the genome organisation. The team then focused on structural virology, viruses containing a lipid bilayer, and with PRD1, visualized the largest structure then seen in atomic detail. This provided a paradigm for the assembly of immensely complex systems, and revealed the structural interplay between protein, membrane and dsDNA genome. Utilising this discovery, Prof Stuart (and others), pioneered the use of structure to decipher the evolution of the virus world. The team also worked to use this structure for therapeutic ends, providing the first detailed framework to facilitate the design of improved Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs) as anti-HIV drugs. These have since been developed for clinical use, impacting the pharmaceutical industry and improving the quality of life of patients. Recently, using in silico and synchrotron methods, the team have contributed to the development of safe and effective recombinant vaccines for FMDV, still the greatest global plague of livestock.
Prof Stuart was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996, a member of EMBO in 1997, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2006, was awarded the Aminoff Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2006 and in 2007 the European Crystallographic Society Max Perutz Prize.