University of Oxford (UOXF)

The University of Oxford is a world-class centre of excellence in research and teaching, with over 21,000 students and 1,600 academic staff.

The Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics is home to a large number of internationally-renowned teams of scientists addressing major questions in biomedicine, the answers to which will have a profound effect on modern biology. Crucially, though, we think that learning is just as important as research, and at our core lies a belief that a synthesis of the two is key to advancing our understanding. As such, we work to provide outstanding opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral workers to gain a research training of the very highest quality which will enable them to become the leaders of tomorrow and strive to communicate and employ their research in the wider world.

Our research is split into six broad areas of study, including: Cardiac Science; Cell Physiology; Development and Cell Biology; Functional Genomics; Metabolism and Endocrinology; Neuroscience. Our work is necessarily multidisciplinary and cross-cutting, which means our researchers often work across more than one theme, as well as collaborating with colleagues in the physical sciences, life sciences and clinical departments across Oxford.

Alongside all of this, our staff undertakes most of the preclinical teaching for the University's top-ranked medical degrees, and our graduate courses attract a wealth of international talent. Ultimately, our department is built on a desire to understand basic science and a belief that our students are the future of research — together, we’re exploring the frontiers of biology.


University Offices, Wellington Square
Oxford, OX1 2JD

Photo of Matthew Wood
Prof. Dr Matthew Wood
Principal investigator

Matthew Wood graduated in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 1987, working in clinical Neuroscience before gaining a doctorate in Physiological Sciences from the University of Oxford in 1993. He is currently University Lecturer, and Fellow and Tutor in Medicine and Physiology at Somerville College.

Matthew’s research is in field of gene therapy for degenerative disorders of the nervous system and muscle. The main focus is the investigation of novel therapeutic approaches utilising short nucleic acids to target messenger RNA. Targeting RNA has the potential to allow modification of the target transcript, reprogramming of endogenous genetic defects or the targeting of specific disease alleles, all the while maintaining endogenous regulation of the target gene. Current work is investigating the potential of single-stranded antisense oligonucleotides for the modification of mRNA splicing, for example in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In addition, the potential of double-stranded RNA for gene silencing, known as RNA interference (RNAi), is being investigated for the silencing of target genes and mutant alleles both in muscle and in the nervous system. In particular, RNAi has great potential as a future therapeutic agent for currently untreatable neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Photo of Imre Mäger
Dr Imre Mäger
Deputy principal investigator

Imre Mäger is a postdoctoral researcher and Exosome Team Leader in Professor Matthew Wood lab in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. He also holds a personal research grant of the Estonian Research Council as a starting P.I. at University of Tartu, Estonia. His primary research is focused on understanding various aspects of extracellular vesicle (EV) biology such as extracellular RNA species and functions, and comparing EV proteome of various cell sources and linking it to EV properties. He also explores strategies for using extracellular vesicles for targeted delivery of biotherapeutics and other types of bioactive drugs.