The main research goal of the Structural and Chemical Biology Department (SCB) is to develop a quantitative understanding of specific biological problems at different levels of complexity, from the single molecule level to sub-cellular macromolecular assemblies. The SCB gathers a powerful combination of strengths in Structural Biology, Mechanistic Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Synthetic and Computational Biology, and Medicinal Chemistry. Methodologically, research at SCB involves the combination of physical, chemical and biological methods to attain high-resolution structural, temporal and ensemble (single molecule versus collective behavior) information of the molecular events controlling biological phenomena with well-established expertise in the identification, isolation, quantitative characterization, modification, and engineering of peptides, proteins, small molecules and macromolecular assemblies involved in essential cellular processes. SCB research efforts range from fundamental processes (such as protein structure, folding, aggregation and evolution, protein function and regulation, energetics and dynamics of biomolecular interactions), to more applied science developing new substances with pharmacological interest, such as antibiotics and drugs for neurodegenerative or tropical diseases. These projects cover from the structural and functional analysis of specific biological problems (such as DNA replication and repair, cell division, cancer, angiogenesis, antibiotic action and resistance, programmed cell-death, post-translational modifications, and chromatin structure) to the in vitro reconstitution and engineering of sub-cellular macromolecular machines.
HEAD OF DEPARTMENT: Germán Rivas