Division of Infection and Immunity


IIT External Seminar Series | Sir Peter Radcliffe

11 May 2023, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Event Information

Open to



Prof. Steve Ley


Room 207
Pears Building
Rowland Hill Street

Our next IIT external seminar on the 'Molecular Insights into the Sensing of Oxygen' features Sir Peter Ratcliffe.

Sir 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 sensse 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. 

May 11th 2023, Pear Building or online via Teams

12pm: Seminar

1pm: Lunch with trainees 

5pm: Drinks reception

Seminar Abstract

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.

Please contact host Prof. Steve Ley (steven.ley@ucl.ac.uk) and Hanh Gurr (h.gurr@ucl.ac.uk) to organise one-to-one meetings with Sir Ratcliffe between 2pm and 5pm. 

Please can all trainees who wish to attend the lunch please email Hanh Gurr (h.gurr@ucl.ac.uk), including any dietary requirements, by 5pm Wednesday the 10th of May.