Cross-Cutting Themes

Microbiology and Infectious Disease

Our integrative cross-disciplinary research approaches are to tackle key global challenges (viz. tuberculosis, malaria, cholera…) by understanding different physiological stages of the environmental and disease-causing microbes at cellular and molecular level, host-pathogen and intra/inter-species microbial interactions, cell-cell communications and virulence factors, biotechnological interventions, elucidate mode(s) of antibiotic action and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We have active collaborations with other departments in UCL (viz. Engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacy, UCL WHO collaborating centres) as well as with relevant industry partners.

Cellular and Molecular Transport

Life processes are intrinsically dynamic and cellular transport is essential for maintaining the proper functioning of eukaryotic cells and to transport protein to the right cellular locations in a precise and coordinated manner.

A focus of this area of research is on kinesins a class of motor proteins that move along microtubules, which are part of the cell’s cytoskeleton.

Molecular Machines

Molecular Machines are molecules that change their shapes or have significant moving parts that perform work during their functional processes. These changes in shape are reversible and can be driven by energy sources, such as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), to facilitate their functions. This energy can be harnessed for mechanical work. Molecular machines participate in various essential biological processes, including catalyzing biochemical reactions, converting biochemical energy into mechanical work, transporting cargo and small molecules, signaling environmental changes to cells, and fulfilling numerous other functions within living organisms.

At ISMB we study  macromolecular machines involved in protein folding, transcription and motility using three-dimensional electron microscopy, single particle cryo-electron microscopy and electron tomography.


Protein Folding and Misfolding

We are interested in the manyfold aspects related to the relationship between protein folding and function. Areas of research cover structure determination of flexible proteins by mass spectrometry; NMR and Molecular Dynamics studies of intrinsically disordered proteins; Protein folding modulated by the ribosome; Protein aggregation and misfolding diseases; Protein folding machines.

DNA and RNA Biology

We want to understand how proteins and nucleic acids come together to create detailed and responsive networks and regulate the flow of information in the cell. Research topics include the key RNA synthesis and translation (and degradation) machineries but also the less conserved complexes essential to the mRNA transport, as well as the system-wide genetic code variations modulating protein structure/function. We use structural, computational and cellular techniques to provide a mechanistic view of how individual molecules and molecular ensembles control physiological (e.g. in neuronal development) and pathological (e.g.) in infection and cancer) processes in human.


Molecular Immunology

We are interested in the  cellular, biochemical and/or genetic mechanisms underlying immunological phenomena.  Areas of research are:

Systems approach to immunology focusing on the cells and the molecules they use for communication and how they respond to vaccines, infections.

Single cell characterization of B-cell repertoires.

Sequence-structure-function characterization of Antibodies.