R. John Ellis

Reginald John Ellis FRS (born 12 February 1935) is a British scientist.

R. John Ellis
Born (1935-02-12) 12 February 1935
Alma materKing's College London
AwardsGairdner Foundation International Award (2004)

Early life and education

Ellis was educated at Highbury Grammar School, London. He studied at King's College, London and obtained a BSc degree in 1956 and PhD in 1960, for thesis research on the enzymology of transamination. He was supervised by Professor D. D. Davies.


Ellis became Scientific Officer in the ARC (Agriculture Research Council) Unit of Plant Physiology, Imperial College, University of London, 1959–61 and an ARC Research Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, 1961–64, working on the regulation of bacterial sulphate reduction with Professor C. A. Pasternak.

In 1964, Ellis joined the University of Aberdeen as a lecturer in the Department of Botany, and moved to its Department of Biochemistry in 1968, following a visiting Professorship in the University of Toronto in 1967.

In 1970, Ellis moved to the newly created Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, as Senior Lecturer and founding Head of the Chloroplast Research Group. Ellis has remained at Warwick University as Reader (1973), holder of a Personal Chair (1976), and Emeritus Professor (1996). He was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford from 1996 until 2000. From 1990 until 2009, he organised annual meetings of the UK Molecular Chaperone Club at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London, Bristol, Birmingham and Warwick.

Ellis is the author of How Science Works: Evolution.[1]

Principal research achievements



  1. Ellis, J. (2010) How Science Works: Evolution. Springer, Heidelberg.
  2. Blair, G. E.; Ellis, R. J. (1973). "Protein synthesis in chloroplasts. I. Light-driven synthesis of the large subunit of Fraction I protein by isolated pea chloroplasts". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 319: 223. doi:10.1016/0005-2787(73)90013-0. PMC 1178671.
  3. Highfield, P. E.; Ellis, R. J. (1978). "Synthesis and transport of the small subunit of chloroplast ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase". Nature. 271 (5644): 420. doi:10.1038/271420a0.
  4. Barraclough, R.; Ellis, R. J. (1980). "Protein synthesis in chloroplasts IX. Assembly of newly-synthesised large subunits into ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase in isolated intact pea chloroplasts". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 608: 19. doi:10.1016/0005-2787(80)90129-x.
  5. Ellis, R. J. (1987). "Proteins as molecular chaperones". Nature. 328 (6129): 378–9. doi:10.1038/328378a0. PMID 3112578.
  6. Hemmingsen, S. M.; Woolford, C.; van der Vies, S. M.; Tilly, K.; Dennis, D. T.; Georgopoulos, C. P.; Hendrix, R. W.; Ellis, R. J. (1988). "Homologous plant and bacterial proteins chaperone oligomeric protein assembly". Nature. 333 (6171): 330–334. doi:10.1038/333330a0. PMID 2897629.
  7. van den Berg, B.; Wain, R.; Dobson, C. M.; Ellis, R. J. (2000). "Macromolecular crowding perturbs protein refolding kinetics: implications for protein folding inside the cell". EMBO J. 19: 3870–3875. doi:10.1093/emboj/19.15.3870. PMC 306593. PMID 10921869.
  8. R. John Ellis Archived 28 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine, awardee of The Gairdner Foundation.
  9. http://www.biochemistry.org/Awards/2019Winners.aspx
  • Web page at School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick.
  • R. John Ellis. How Science Works: Evolution Essay.
  • Lectures on how science works in the context of evolution 1, 2, 3 and 4.
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