23 March 2017

New Structural Biology Cluster at the University of Copenhagen

Structural Biology

The University of Copenhagen is establishing a new cluster, ISBUC, which compiles researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences with a strong common interest in the structural biology of biomolecules. The cluster thus represents a solid framework that makes research into structural biology more readily accessible to other researchers, and which will have a significant impact on future research into human health and diseases and into the application of biomolecules in biotechnology and medicine.

The field of structural biology has seen significant development in recent years, and today, by integrating various experimental and computational techniques, researchers are able to appreciate the complexity of a cell and thereby get a more detailed picture of, for instance, how a cell develops, what is happening in resistant bacteria and how a healthy cell works. The new cluster, ISBUC (Integrative Structural Biology at the University of Copenhagen), has been established to strengthen the conditions for collaboration and exchange of knowledge, technology and equipment across 16 departments at the university. The cluster model offers a strong infrastructure and a clear point of entry for external collaborators.

’This initiative allows researchers to combine different layers of information ranging from experimental to computational analyses in order to understand complex biological systems. Through the new cluster we are establishing precisely the state-of-the-art infrastructure required to make use of our expertise and advanced equipment at the University of Copenhagen, including the large facilities built in the region, ESS, MAX-IV and XFEL, to study cells and their biomolecules using a combined approach’, says Professor at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research Guillermo Montoya, who is one of the researchers who took initiative to establish the cluster.

Individual units typically have unique knowledge of specific technologies, but today there is a need for cross-disciplinary collaboration to integrate all present knowledge and thereby gain a better, overall view of a given system. Researchers working with structural biology may, for example, study metabolic disorders, cancer and resistance in bacteria at the molecular level.

These advanced technologies and facilities are also in demand outside the university – for example, among pharmaceutical and biotech companies and authorities:

’Modern science depends on a wide range of highly specialised techniques. Finding the right collaborators can be difficult; therefore, it is a huge advantage to be grouped in iSBUC with one readily accessible point of entry’, says Professor at the Department of Biology Birthe B. Kragelund.

The two deans, Ulla Wewer, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, and John Renner Hansen, Faculty of Science, are excited about this great and important initiative created by the researchers. It will further strengthen the already extended collaboration on research and teaching in this important area across the two faculties – and provide novel opportunities for establishing collaborations with external partners.

Contact: Professor Guillermo Montoya, E-mail: Guillermo.montoya@cpr.ku.dk, Tel: +45 51 32 45 81 or Professor Birthe B. Kragelund, E-mail: bbk@bio.ku.dk, Tel: +45 35 32 20 81

Read more about ISBUC.

ISBUC includes researchers working on structural biology at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science and Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, respectively.