Justin Benesch

Research Interests

We are interested in understanding how organisms response to environmental stresses at the molecular level, and how this can be manipulated to improve resistance. Stresses range from the daily rise and fall in temperature that a plant leaf has to tolerate, to rising sea temperatures leading to coral bleaching events, to the ageing process in humans and other organisms. Our work is interdisciplinary, with studies at the molecular level using a variety of biophysical methods in our laboratory and interactions with experts at the organism and ecosystem levels, while we interact with artists, NGOs and industrial partners to maximise the impact of our work. The details of any DPhil project would be defined in discussion with the student, will be based on investigating the coral (or plant) stress response. This will be primarily experimental, include a significant component of fieldwork (most likely at the Kenyan Coast), have the opportunity for computational modelling, and allow engagement with artistic practice.

Experience & Qualifications

PhD (Cambridge; Biological Chemistry), Masters (Oxford, Chemistry)

8 years as Professor and Associate Professor at Oxford.

Personal Research Keywords

Environmental stress; stress response; coral reefs; crop plants; molecular chaperones

Contact Details


Department of Chemistry, 
University of Oxford
Chemistry Research Laboratory, 
South Parks Road,