Elspeth Garman

Elspeth Frances Garman is professor of molecular biophysics at the University of Oxford and a former President of the British Crystallographic Association.[1] She is also Senior Kurti Research Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford.[2] The "Garman limit", which is the radiation dose limit of a cryocooled protein crystal, is named after her.

Elspeth Garman
Alma mater
Spouse(s)John James Barnett 
Academic career
FieldsStructural biology, crystallography 
ThesisInelastic alpha particle scattering from ¹⁶O and medium mass nuclei in the incident energy range 7-18 MeV
Doctoral advisorKenneth Allen

Education and career

Garman studied physics at Durham University and then moved to Linacre College, Oxford, for a doctorate in nuclear physics supervised by Kenneth Allen which she completed in 1980.[3] She taught at Somerville College and switched to biophysics in 1987. Since then, she has co-authored more than 80 Protein Data Bank entries and contributed to techniques for macromolecular structure determination.[4] In particular, Garman has been amongst the pioneers of cryoprotection of macromolecular crystals[5] and has made major contributions to the study of the damage that X-rays induce in macromolecular crystals. In a seminal paper in 2006, Garman and collaborators established the radiation dose limit for cryocooled protein crystals, which was named the "Garman limit" after her.[6]


In 2014 she was awarded the Rose Lecture and Medal at Kingston University[7] and the Humanitarian Award of the Women's International Film and Television Showcase.[8] In 2015 she received the Mildred Dresselhaus Senior Award and guest professorship at the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging.[9] In 2016 she received the I. Fankuchen Award of the American Crystallographic Association.[10][11][12] In 2008 she was awarded Major Educator by the University of Oxford. In 2014 she was awarded Most Acclaimed Lecturer Award by OUSU as well as an 'Individual Teaching Award' from Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division.[13][14] Garman is the first recipient of the Sosei Heptares Prize, awarded in July 2018.[15][16] She received an honorary doctorate from Durham University in July 2019.[17] In August 2019, the European Crystallographic Association awarded her the 11th Max Perutz Prize.[18] She was elected Fellow of the American Crystallographic Association in 2019.[19] In 2020 she was awarded the Suffrage Science Life Sciences Award.[20]

Public engagement

Garman has been involved in over 40 TV and radio programmes.[13] In December 2017, she gave a talk as part of the Illuminating Atoms exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall.[21] In 2014 she was interviewed for BBC Radio 4's programme The Life Scientific.[22] Garman also helped produce a video with the Royal Institution about "Understanding Crystallography".[23] In 2014 she helped to create an animated video with Oxford Sparks on crystallography.[24] In 2010 she gave the Dorothy Hodgkin Memorial Lecture "Crystallography One Century AD (after Dorothy)".[25] In 2016 she gave the inaugural Rosalind Franklin memorial lecture as well as the inaugural Lawrence Bragg memorial lecture.[26][27]

Personal life

Garman married John James Barnett (1947–2010), an atmospheric physicist, in January 1979.[28] There are three daughters.[29] Garman is a keen rower, and obtained a rowing half-blue in 1978.[30]


  1. "Previous BCA Councils". British Crystallographic Association. Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  2. "Academic Staff: Professor Elspeth Garman". Brasenose College, Oxford. Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  3. Garman, Elspeth Frances (1980). Inelastic alpha particle scattering from 16O and medium mass nuclei in the incident energy range 7-18 MeV (Thesis). Thesis DPhil -- University of Oxford.
  4. Garman, Elspeth F. (2014). "Developments in x-ray crystallographic structure determination of biological macromolecules". Science. 343 (6175): 1102–1108. Bibcode:2014Sci...343.1102G. doi:10.1126/science.1247829. PMID 24604194. S2CID 21067016.
  5. Garman, Elspeth F.; Doublié, Sylvie (2003). Cryocooling of Macromolecular Crystals: Optimization Methods. Methods in Enzymology. 368. pp. 188–216. doi:10.1016/S0076-6879(03)68011-0. ISBN 9780121822712. PMID 14674275.
  6. Owen, Robin Leslie; Rudiño-Piñera, Enrique; Garman, Elspeth F. (2006). "Experimental determination of the radiation dose limit for cryocooled protein crystals". PNAS USA. 103 (13): 4912–4917. Bibcode:2006PNAS..103.4912O. doi:10.1073/pnas.0600973103. PMC 1458769. PMID 16549763.
  7. "Elspeth Garman gives Rose Lecture at Kingston University". Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford. 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  8. "Elspeth Garman: The Humanitarian Award – UK". Women's International Film and Television Showcase. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  9. "Mildred Dresselhaus Awardees 2015 selected". Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  10. "Awards Presented by the American Crystallographic Association". American Crystallographic Association. Archived from the original on 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  11. Jordan, Julian (2015-11-19). "2016 American Crystallographic Association Fankuchen Award for Elspeth Garman". Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  12. American Crystallographic Association (2017-04-04), Elspeth Garman, Fankuchen Award Lecture, 2016 ACA Annual Meeting, Denver, retrieved 2018-01-14
  13. PSG, 360. "Elspeth Garman Memoir". www.amercrystalassn.org. Retrieved 2018-01-14.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. "Lab Talk". MSD Newsletters. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  15. "British Biophysical Society Biennial Meeting". 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  16. "2018 Sosei Heptares Prize for Biophysics to be awarded to Prof Elspeth Garman". Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
  17. "Honorary Degrees". Ceremonies. Durham University. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  18. "Prizes". Ceremonies. European Crystallographic Association. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  19. "Fellows".
  20. "Prizes". Ceremonies. Suffrage Science. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  21. Hogenboom, Melissa (2014-11-10). "Crystal beauty: Illuminating the structure of matter". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  22. "Elspeth Garman on crystallography, The Life Scientific". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  23. The Royal Institution (2014-04-02), Understanding Crystallography - Part 1: From Proteins to Crystals, retrieved 2018-01-14
  24. OxfordSparks (2014-03-18), Oxford Sparks: A Case of Crystal Clarity, retrieved 2018-01-14
  25. Cooper, Richard (2010-05-14). "Dorothy Hodgkin Memorial Lecture 2010". British Crystallographic Association. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  26. Birkbeck, University of London (2016-06-06), [Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2016] What crystallography has done for the world, retrieved 2018-01-14
  27. "Events". The University of Manchester | School of Physics and Astronomy. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  28. "John Barnett". The Times. 2010-08-20. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  29. Shine, Keith P. (2011-01-01). "John J. Barnett". Weather. 66 (1): 27. Bibcode:2011Wthr...66...27S. doi:10.1002/wea.738. ISSN 1477-8696.
  30. "Professor Elspeth Garman - Brasenose College, Oxford". www.bnc.ox.ac.uk.