The Centre brings together a large group of structural molecular biologists, chemists and physicists working on the structure and function of a wide range of biological molecules, biomolecular assemblies and complexes. It specialises in all the current major techniques for high-resolution structure determination of large molecules, including X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and electron microscopy as well as a battery of sophisticated biophysical tools such as mass spectrometry, surface plasmon resonance and time-resolved spectroscopies. These techniques are complemented by theoretical approaches such as molecular modelling and bioinformatics.
Structural studies, however, are not taken in isolation, and the mission of the Centre is to integrate these with powerful programmes of functional analysis, since the ultimate goal of biology is to understand the function of biological systems rather than just their structure. The enormous success and potential of genome projects is generating a flood of information on protein sequences and the challenge for the Centre over the coming years is to assign structure and function to the products of the genes that have been sequenced.
Our research is organised around five themes