Seminar details

February 21, 2017, 12:00 pm @ Small Lecture Theatre

Rob Beynon, University of Liverpool

Host: Sonia Rocha and Angus Lamond


Most of evolutionary biology and animal behaviour is about sex! Sex is, in part, mediated through proteins and their interactions with other proteins. Thus, the study of proteins involved in topics such as sexual reproduction, sperm competition, mate selection and inbreeding avoidance could provide valuable new insights into the drivers of speciation and evolution. These proteins evolve rapidly and bring problems when working with species for which there is no reliable annotated genome.


In my talk, I will explore how successful collaborations between protein chemists and evolutionary biologists can yield new insights in this area. The biologists bring the big ideas, while the protein chemists find sneaky and novel ways to test their hypotheses, developing a truly interdisciplinary team approach – a model of modern biological research. I will target my talk towards the biologist, make few assumptions about the technical level of understanding of protein chemistry or mass spectrometry, and illustrate throughout with some fascinating studies we have conducted with the Mammalian Behaviour and Evolution Group here in Liverpool. If there is time I’ll discuss the recipe for a productive collaboration across these two disciplines.



Rob Beynon earned his PhD at University of Wales in 1978. He began his career at the University of Liverpool and in 1993 took the Chair of Biochemistry at UMIST before returning to Liverpool as Chair of Proteomics in 1999. He has won several prizes for teaching innovation and for research, and in 2015 was elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Rob co-leads the Centre for Proteome Research (, a state of the art laboratory with lots of fancy toys. And, less self-importantly: “A technologically-overstimulated enthusiast and grumpy old fart from the last millennium, who hates ‘kit mentality’ and who believes in being able to calculate things in your head”.