A review article by Charlotte Dodson, Fulford Junior Research Fellow at Somerville, was chosen as cover story for the September issue of Trends in Biochemical Science, a leading Biochemical Research Journal.

Dodson was one of three article authors looking at the science behind how migratory birds and other animals are able to sense the Earth’s magnetic fields in order to find their way on seasonal migrations across thousands of miles.

Their article, A radical sense of direction: signalling and mechanism in cryptochrome magnetoreception*, focuses on how a particular kind of chemistry (spin chemistry) is applied to cryptochrome proteins, and the way in which these proteins might be regulated in biology.

The image chosen for the front cover is by Abid Javed, biochemist and artist, and features a close-up profile of a parrot, its eye displaying the points of the compass.

Dr Charlotte Dodson is a biophysicist with a biochemical training whose research focuses on the cross-disciplinary meeting point of the three traditional sciences. Dodson arrived at Somerville College in 2011. Her article, co-published with two other Oxford academics, comes out of a broader collaboration asking the question: how do birds know which way to fly when they go south for the winter?

*This article was published in Trends in Biochemical Science, 9, Charlotte A. Dodson, P. J. Hore, Mark I. Wallace, A radical sense of direction: signalling and mechanism in cryptochrome magnetoreception, 435-446, Copyright Elsevier 2013

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