UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Peter Rich

Prof Peter Rich

Professor of Bioenergetics

Structural & Molecular Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1996

Research summary

Research expertise is centred around UV/visible and vibrational mid-infrared spectroscopies, together with a range of biochemical, biophysical and electrochemical methods with both basic and translational applications.

Basic research in centred upon biochemical and biophysical studies of biological electron transfer processes, particularly those of the mitochondrial respiratory chain with particular attention to the basic factors that are important for coupled electron and proton transfer within proteins. Our major focus is cytochrome c oxidase, and we have developed as a model system a His-tagged form of yeast mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase, a system which allows for the first time the genetic manipulation of both nuclear and mitochondrially-encoded subunits.

Translational projects, in collaborations with clinicians at UCH, Hammersmith and Royal Free Hospitals, are aimed at exploiting the rapid technical advances of mid-infrared spectroscopy to provide new medical diagnostic tools. One major project is screening of urine samples for various kidney diseases that are difficult or expensive to diagnose with current clinical methods.  This has already led to our installing an experimental IR spectrometer in the Urology clinic of RFH for a three year data collection programme. A second major programme is development of methods for rapid, automated screening of biopsy samples for cancer stage diagnoses.

Teaching summary

I am Course Organiser, Lecturer and Tutor on 1st year full unit course BIOC1007 (Principles and Practice of Biochemistry). This represent 25% of the 1st year taught programme of all 1st year Biochemistry and Biotechnology students. I have modernised and revamped it with new lectures/lecturers covering modern biochemical methods, new tutorials, a new practical that I designed and implemented, introduction of workshops, accreditation for tutorials and practicals, a Moodle-based MCQ examination in Term 2 and provision of a comprehensive Moodle site and CourseBook for students. Lecturer on BIOC2005 (Metabolism and its Regulation), BIOC3006 (Biomolecular Structure) and BIOL3017 (Biology of Ageing). Tutor on BIOC2005 (Biomolecular Structure and Function). Personal Tutor to approx. 15 undergraduates.


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1975
University of Bristol
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1972


1963-1969    A Levels: Phys(A) Chem(A) Biol(A)    Cardiff High School
1969-1972    Honours Biochemistry B.Sc. (2.1)        Bristol University
1972-1975    Ph.D. in Biochemistry                           Cambridge University
1975-1978    Research Associate                              Dept Biochem/Biophys, Uni Penn, USA
1978-1980    SERC Research Associate                   Cambridge University
1981-1986    Research Fellow                                  Cambridge University
1986-1987    Principal Research Fellow                    Glynn Research Inst., Cornwall
1987-1996    Director of Research                            Glynn Research Inst., Cornwall
1996-            Professor                                             Depts. Biology/SMB, UCL