Queen Mary, University of London

John F. Allen

Thinking outside the green box

Inaugural lecture by John F. Allen, Professor of Biochemistry, Queen Mary, University of London

Queen Mary Events Office announcement

Proof copy of the formal invitation as a pdf file

Title slide as a pdf file

A ten-minute movie clip

Podcast of the complete lecture

Including the introduction by Professor Ursula Martin, Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering
Demonstrating Emerson enhancement
Demonstrating Emerson enhancement


Sunlight is power. Specifically, up to one kW for each square meter of the Earth's surface. Decent, self-reliant living things tap into this source of power by means of photosynthesis. The rest of us tap into them. Sunlight changes all the time, in quality and quantity. We learn something about our planet and ourselves in learning how living things adapt to these changes, using electrons as signals to fine-tune proteins and switch on genes. We also learn about all life, how it combines the flux of power conversion with the stasis of inheritance – a lesson close to home.


John F. Allen is Professor of Biochemistry at Queen Mary, University of London, where he also holds a Royal Society–Wolfson Research Merit Award Energy and Genome Function. A native of Newport, Monmouthshire, he obtained his B.Sc. and Ph.D. from King's College, London, and did postdoctoral research in Oxford and Warwick Universities, the latter including collaborative work in the University of Illinois. Allen became a lecturer in Leeds University, escaping temporarily to the University of California, Berkeley, on a Nuffield Foundation Fellowship. This is his third Chair. The first two were at the Universities of Oslo, Norway, and Lund, Sweden. He is still restless.

John F. Allen web page
Lectures | Energy and Evolution | Membrane Biochemistry | Membrane Proteins | Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics | Inaugural Lecture | Rudi Lemberg Lectures

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