The program integrates structural, molecular, cellular, synthetic, and chemical biology approaches to move forward our understanding of the machines governing essential cellular processes and translate it into resources to improve our quality of life.
Some of the key objectives within the program are:
- Reconstituting bacterial cell division from the bottom-up in cell-like test tubes. Deciphering how macromolecular crowding, phase separation, and membrane surfaces control functional protein associations and organize intracellular space.
- Understanding how cellular machines working on the chromatin regulate gene expression, DNA repair, and adaptation to stress conditions.
- Molecular mechanisms of action of microtubule modulating agents to determine how they exert their effects and how and why they induce undesired secondary effects, in order to design, synthesize, and test better drugs.
- Developing mechanistic models that explain how multi-subunit assemblies transduce chemical energy into force and motion, and determining how cells exploit these complexes and their activities to regulate DNA replication, horizontal gene transfer, and dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes and toxins.
- Unveiling the molecular mechanisms that protect genome integrity, with a strong focus on DNA replication and chromosomal stability.
- Studying the regulatory mechanisms of key signaling switches that control growth and adhesion signals, and regulate important cellular processes such as cell proliferation, migration, and survival.
- Studying how intermediate filaments, such as vimentin, interact with the actin cortex in mitosis to allow normal cell division and how posttranslational modifications modulate protein function.
- Studying the molecular regulators of intracellular transport in the context of the secretory pathway using filamentous fungi as a model.
- Unravelling the structural basis of host-pathogen interactions, focusing on understanding the protein-protein interactions that mediate communication between cells in bacterial communities, with a focus on secretion machineries to understand antibiotic resistance and bacterial pathogenesis.
- Dissecting molecular recognition processes by NMR-based methodologies to characterize the structure and dynamics of carbohydrates, proteins, and their complexes.
- Computational chemistry applied to the understanding of recognition events involved in innate immunity: Toll-like receptors and the Complement system, and lectin recognition and modulation.
- Mastering cell-biomaterial interactions for bone tissue repair.