Oliver Beckstein | People | Beckstein Lab

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Oliver Beckstein

Oliver Beckstein

Oliver Beckstein, Dipl.-Phys., DPhil, is the principal investigator and heads the lab.

He obtained his undergraduate degree (Diplom Physik) from the Department of Physics at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany and his doctoral degree (DPhil – the Oxford version of the PhD) from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, UK. He held a Junior Research Fellowship at Merton College, Oxford and worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Tom Woolf at Johns Hopkins University and Mark Sansom in Oxford. He became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and the Center for Biological Physics at Arizona State University in 2012 and an Associate Professor with tenure in 2018.


DPhil in Biochemistry, Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, University of Oxford, UK. Advisor: Prof. M.S.P. Sansom. Dissertation: Principles of Gating Mechanisms of Ion Channels
Diplom Physik, Department of Physics, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany). Advisor: Prof. O. Pankratov. Thesis: Structural and electronic properties of platinum silicides from ab-initio calculations

Positions and Employment

Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Center for Biological Physics, Arizona State University
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Center for Biological Physics, Arizona State University
Research Associate with Prof. M.S.P. Sansom, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK
Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. T.B. Woolf, Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Junior Research Fellow, Merton College, University of Oxford, UK

Scientific Interests

My research group uses and develops computational methods to better understand the molecular mechanisms of biological processes. A special focus is on the quantitative prediction of the function and activity of proteins from the knowledge of their structures alone. The group has special expertise in transmembrane transport processess catalyzed by membrane proteins such as secondary active transporters and ion channels. Research in the group contributes to the fields of the statistical physics of biomolecules, structural biology, physiology, nanobiotechnology, and drug discovery. We also have broad interests in computational method and software development, including the development of novel algorithms to sample and analyze molecular systems. I am a co-founder and core developer of the widely used open source MDAnalysis library for the analysis of biomolecular simulations and involved a many other open source projects.