Brussels, 10 Jun 2004
A new European centre of excellence for structural biology is to be constructed in Grenoble, France, and will carry out fundamental research aimed at improving human health.
The new facility is being developed by the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB), whose members include three leading pan-European institutes: the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL).
The centre of excellence will bring together all the facilities and know-how needed to create, purify and study thousands of proteins involved in living processes. More than 60 scientists, engineers and technicians from all of the PSB member institutes will be based at the centre.
With a focus on multidisciplinary research using state of the art automated techniques, the building will host major infrastructures such as the biological deuterium labelling facility, and a new automated dual station beamline for macromolecular crystallography.
Stephen Cusack, head of EMBL Grenoble and current chair of PSB, said: 'To obtain insight into fundamental biological processes or to speed up the development of new antibiotics or anti-cancer drugs, it is absolutely necessary to gain detailed knowledge about the structure of biological molecules and their complexes.
'To do this, we have combined our resources to create a unique pool of modern scientific techniques and instrumentation which we will use to study proteins related to human health and disease, notably viral and human proteins.'
Established in 2002, the PSB is a unique global partnership that, as well as promoting collaborative research among its member institutes, plays a leading role in large scale EU funded structural biology initiatives, such as the SPINE (structural proteomics in Europe) and BIOXHIT (biocrystallography on a highly integrated technology platform) Integrated Projects.
For further information on the PSB, please consult the following web address: