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Molecular Medicine

Research themes

Membrane proteins and lipids
Biological membranes play an important role across a range of functions including signal transduction, cell-to-cell communication and transport processes. Within our program many biophysical and molecular techniques are applied to examine the role of membrane proteins in a variety of human diseases including cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and cancer.

Molecular interactions and complexes
Many proteins do not operate in isolation, but rather form components of larger complexes. Applying proteomics, cryo-microscopy and computational methods, members of our program are systematically identifying how and which proteins interact and how this information translates into a functioning molecular machine.

Metabolic, regulatory and signaling pathways
Exploiting a number of model systems including biochemical and cellular based assays, researchers in the program are exploring the organization of proteins and small molecules within the context of biochemical pathways. Through the identification and characterization of critical components within these pathways, we aim to understand the role of these components in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and muscular dystrophy.

Infectious disease
The lack of effective treatments for a variety of infectious agents highlights an urgent need for the development of novel therapeutics, particularly with the emergence of strains resistant to current drugs. Focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying infection, members of our program are involved in cutting edge research on a variety of infectious agents, from prions and viruses such as HIV, to microbial pathogens and parasites.

Techniques

Structural biology
Members of our program apply physical and computational techniques such as X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, electron cryo-microscopy and molecular dynamics to study the structure, assembly and dynamics of a variety of macromolecules.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Using increasingly sophisticated molecular and biochemical methods, our researchers are able to study macromolecules both at the level of the individual molecule and within the context of the biochemical pathway within which they operate.

Proteomics
Proteomics focuses on the large-scale study of proteins. Exploiting technologies such as the mass spectrometry facilities provided by our Advanced Protein Technology Center (APTC) core facility, researchers in the program are constructing and analyzing complex maps detailing protein complements and their networks of interactions.

Computational Biology
With the large of amounts of data generated by ‘-omics’ type studies, computational approaches are being developed to integrate these datasets to provide a more complete understanding of the evolution, organization and function of biochemical processes including signaling networks and metabolic pathways.