Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


NK T-cell lymphoma


IIT Seminar: Peter J Ratcliffe

11 May 2023, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Peter J Ratcliffe

Nobel prize winning physician scientist, Prof Peter Ratcliffe presents: 'Molecular insights into the Sensing of Oxygen.'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni


Prof Steve Ley

Peter J. Ratcliffe, M.D. is a physician scientist who trained as a nephrologist, before founding the hypoxia biology laboratory at Oxford. His laboratory elucidated mechanisms by which human and animal cells sense oxygen levels and transduce these signals to direct adaptive changes in gene expression. For this work he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2019.

He holds appointments as Director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute, London, Director of the Target Discovery Institute at the University of Oxford and is a Distinguished Scholar of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

Seminar Abstract

Molecular insights into the Sensing of Oxygen

In human and animal cells transcriptional responses to hypoxia (low oxygen) are transduced by the HIF (hypoxia inducible factor) hydroxylase pathway. In this system, oxygen sensitive signals are generated by the catalytic action of a set of 2-oxoglutarate dependent dioxygenases that hydroxylate specific prolyl and asparaginyl residues to promote the proteolytic destruction and inactivation of (HIF)-alpha sub-units. In hypoxia this process is suppressed allowing HIF to escape destruction, and bind to hypoxia response elements in DNA. This activates an extensive transcriptional cascade that mediates many cellular and systemic responses to hypoxia, including erythropoiesis, angiogenesis, alterations in matrix metabolism, metabolic re-programming, and inflammatory/immune signalling.

The HIF hydroxylase transcriptional pathway also interacts with other oxygen sensing systems including the electrophysiological excitable oxygen chemo-sensitive cells that control breathing and a newly defined N-Cysteine dioxygenase N-degron system that controls G-protein signals via RGS proteins. The lecture will consider the implications of these findings for physiology and medicine.

This seminar is an in-person event at the Pears Building.To attend, please go to the ground floor seminar room at 12 noon on Thursday 11 May 2023.  

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