Dr. Peter Oatley


School of Medicine

Victoria Mill, VM206

+44 (0) 1772 89 6088


Dr Oatley is a lecturer on the two-year accelerated Medical Sciences BSc course at the University of Central Lancashire’s Burnley campus.  He teaches while keeping a keen interest in protein translocation, quality control, membrane protein structure and microscopy.

Full Profile

Dr Oatley joins the university with over 14 years of biological lab research experience.  He started is research by developing assays for the Cancer Research Department at AstraZeneca. His interest in membrane proteins lead him to the University of Cambridge where he used atomic force microscopy to study the structure of the polycystin complex, mutations of which can lead to polycystic kidney disease, a leading cause of kidney failure.

Throughout his career Dr Oatley has focuses his research on protein transport across membranes and membrane protein insertion via the Secretion (Sec) machinery in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. During his PhD, he gained skills working with the Sec complex in yeast, then at the University of Leeds broadened his experience by looking at the homologous structure in E. coli. There he developed single molecule fluorescence techniques, and in collaboration with a team at the University of Bristol they were able to identify movements in the Sec machinery and propose how ATP drives protein transport through the membrane. Later, his research led him to the University of Sheffield to help understand how the pathogenic bacteria, Clostridium difficile secretes Surface-layer (S-layer) proteins to generate a protective S-layer.


  • Ph.D. Cell Biology, The University of Manchester, 2009
  • B.Sc. (Hons.) Biochemistry with Industrial Experience, The University of Manchester, 2005


Fessl T, Watkins D, Oatley P, Allen WJ, Corey RA, Horne J, Baldwin SA, Radford SE, Collinson I, Tuma R., Dynamic action of the Sec machinery during initiation, protein translocation and termination. Elife, e35112, Jun, 2018

Allen WJ, Corey RA, Oatley P, Sessions RB, Baldwin SA, Radford SE, Tuma R, Collinson I., Two-way communication between SecY and SecA suggests a Brownian ratchet mechanism for protein translocation. eLife, Vol. 16, No 5., pii: e15598, May, 2016

Oatley P, Talukder MM, Stewart AP, Sandford R, Edwardson JM., Polycystin-2 induces a conformational change in polycystin-1, Biochemistry, Vol. 52, No 31., pp. 5280-7, August, 2013

Oatley P, Stewart AP, Sandford R, Edwardson JM., Atomic force microscopy imaging reveals the domain structure of polycystin-1, Biochemistry, Vol. 51, No 13., pp. 2879-88, April, 2012


  • EMBO Workshop: Current advances in protein translocation across membranes. Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain (2019)
  • International C. difficile Symposium, Bled, Slovenia (2018)
  • Microbiology Society, Annual Conference Birmingham, UK (2018)
  • ClostPath 2017 conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbour, Michigan, USA (2017)
  • EMBO Conference: Protein Translocation and Cellular Homeostasis, Dubrovnik, Croatia (2017)

Teaching Activities

  • Lecturer of Medical Sciences
  • Medical Sciences admissions tutor