EU Centre for Structural Biology to open in Grenoble

January 11, 2006

Brussels, 10 Jan 2006

On 13 January, the Carl-Ivar Branden Building will be opened at the Polygone Scientifique Campus in Gronoble, France. The new centre will be split between the Partnership for Structural Biology and the Institute of Molecular and Structural Virology. The centre received ten per cent of its funding under the Research Infrastructures section of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).

The centre will house a large number of research groups focusing on investigations into proteins and other molecules relating to human disease. Facilities include high-throughput protein purification and expression, robotic crystallisation, deuteration and isotope labelling, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry and cryo-electron microscopy.

'By assembling all the components of this pipeline in a unique platform under one roof, we can greatly speed up the process of investigating molecules and processes relevant to diseases,' says Rob Ruigrok, Professor at the Joseph Fourier University and Director of the Institute of Molecular and Structural Virology.

One particular field of research will be on the protein structures found on the surfaces of viruses. These structures allow viruses to dock with receptor proteins on cells. The development of inhibitors will be possible through research such as that undertaken at the new centre. Some of the modelling will require atom-by-atom manipulation, only possible through close collaboration with the centre's partners.

The centre has already developed a reputation through the EU SPINE (Structural Proteomics in Europe) project, producing drug targets against viruses and bacteria.

The partnership for Sturctural Biology is a collaboration between the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the Institute of Structural Biology and the Laune-Langevin Institute. The Institute of Molecular and Structural Virology is associated with the Joseph Fourier University and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

'These partners offer an amazing range of expertise in the life sciences, and the Grenoble campus is an ideal place to cluster them together in an important new centre for structural biology', says Eva Pebay-Peyroula, Director of the Institute of Structural Biology and current Chair of the Partnership for Structural Biology. 'It benefits from the presence of some of the world's most important instruments for structural biology: the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility's X-ray source is one of the most powerful in the world, and the Institut Laune-Langevin offers the world's leading source of neutrons.'

For further information, please contact:
Montserrat Capellas
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF)

Tel: +33 476 88 26 63

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2005
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