Biological Chemistry

Biological Chemistry is a discipline that combines chemical and biological sciences. The aim is to understand at molecular level the structures and functions of biomolecules that are involved in complex biological processes such as human diseases or photosynthesis and how these processes can be manipulated. In our interdisciplinary research we employ molecular biology, biochemical, chemical, crystallographic, biophysical, spectroscopic, theoretical and multi-variable data analysis techniques.

Specific research areas include infectious disease and discovery of antimicrobial agents, processes of protein folding and misfolding in health and disease, natural and artificial photosynthesis, protein structure and function, biosensors, medical diagnostics, and biofuel cells. We actively develop various theoretical and data analysis tools and spectroscopic and spectrometric techniques.

Principal investigators

Almqvist, Fredrik

Fredrik AlmqvistDesign, Synthesis & Evaluation of Ring fused 2-Pyridones Directed at Different Medicinal Targets and Diverse Oriented Synthesis (DOS) Towards New Heterocyclic Scaffolds. A chemical platform with broad applications and flexibility has been rationally designed to interrupt complicated molecular machines important in microbial pathogenesis. The research programme contains a blend of computer-aided design, synthetic organic chemistry, molecular biology and genetics to investigate and disrupt complex biological systems important in disease processes.

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Antti, Henrik

Henrik AnttiThe research project focuses on a combination of metabolomics and chemometric bioinformatics for studying metabolic processes, mainly in humans. The aim is to develop methods for detection of biomarker patterns for facilitated diagnosis and increased mechanistic understanding. The methods are being applied to answer important questions in human health and disease with special emphasis on cancer, infection, diet & exercise and neurodegeneration.

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Backman, Lars

Lars BackmanMany processes, if not all, that occur in our cells, such as muscle contraction, fertilization, movement of cilia, transport in nerves, are all dependent on a proper functioning cytoskeleton.
Several sever diseases, such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons depend on changes in the neuron's cytoskeleton. We are studying spectrin and α-actinin, in this complicated system to understand how spectrin interact with the plasma membrane and other proteins in the cell as well as the role thses proteins play in cell survival.

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Chorell, Erik

Erik ChorellCentral to the research projects is the design and synthesis of small heterocyclic molecules with the aim to delineate mechanisms of DNA replication and maintenance of genome integrity during DNA synthesis. Identification and development of the bioactive compounds and molecular probes is achieved using an interdisciplinary approach spanning synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry, and molecular biology.

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Elofsson, Mikael

Mikael ElofssonThe research projects cover many aspects of organic, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry with the aim to discover, develop and utilize small synthetic molecules and natural products as research tools to study and understand complex biological systems with focus on infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

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Funk, Christiane

Christiane FunkThe research projects cover aspects within photosynthesis with the aim to investigate light harvesting and photoprotection of the photosystems. Besides the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana research organisms are cyanobacteria and algae to study microbial biomass production and refinement for sustainable fuels, chemicals and feed.

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Gröbner, Gerhard

Gerhard GröbnerOur main research aims at molecular understanding of the function of biological membranes by applying biological solid-state NMR approaches. The main focus is on the unique mitochondrial membrane system inside the cell and its involvement in programmed cell death and amyloidogenic disorders.

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Hedberg, Christian

Christian HedbergOur research is centered on the chemistry between host cells and pathogens during infection. We are using chemical tools generated by classical organic synthesis as well as genetic methods to dissect mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in an interdisciplinary way. In the long run, the generated knowledge will lead to improved methods to address intracellular pathogens.

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Johansson, Lennart B-Å

Lennart B-Å JohanssonThe project aims at a molecular-level development and application of electronic energy transport processes for structural insights into complex systems, such as proteins, lipid membranes, as well as protein-membrane systems. One major goal is to develop spectroscopic tools that complement NMR- and X-ray methods. The applications, e.g. photosynthesis, deal with general questions of protein structure and functioning under in vitro and cell-like conditions.

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Johnels, Dan

Dan Johnels I am mostly involved in structure determination of fullerene derivatives, such as hydrogenated fullerenes, in cooperation with researchers at the Physics Department at Umeå University.  In addition, we have recently started a project aimed at the development of chromatographic materials for separation of fullerene derivatives, as this is a major obstacle due to the vast number of isomers that can be formed in the derivatization of fullerenes.

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Jönsson, Leif

Leif Jönsson

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Lindholm, Britta

Britta Lindholm

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Linusson Jonsson, Anna

Anna Linussin Jonsson The research focus is directed towards fundamental aspects of interactions of small-molecular ligands with proteins, using both experimental and computational techniques. The research is performed within pharmaceutical relevant projects to contribute to the discovery of new molecules against for example rheumatoid arthritis, malaria and dengue fever.

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Messinger, Johannes

Johannes MessingerThe research in my group concerns the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy. We study the process of water splitting in natural photosynthesis using biochemical and biophysical techniques, and apply the derived natural principles to the development of artificial catalysts and devices for solar fuel production.

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Nam, Kwangho

Kwangho Nam In my lab, we develop and apply computational and theoretical methods with the goal to investigate chemical and physical problems presented by biomolecular systems. Our current developmental efforts focus on advancing our ability to simulate protein systems where chemistry is linked with large scale protein conformational dynamics and computation of corresponding free energies. The application part involves, but not limited to, kinases, ATP hydrolases, and DNA repair enzymes. These biomolecules present unique set of challenges that experiments are unable to address, while theory can provide atomic level understanding.

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Persson, Karina

Karina PerssonIn our research we are using protein X-ray crystallography to characterize key proteins involved in host-pathogen interactions. The main focus is structural and functional studies of bacterial surface proteins.

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Ramstedt, Madeleine

Madeleine RamstedtThe research in Madeleines group investigates the influence of surface chemistry of the bacterial surface as well as the materials surface on biofilm formation, with the long term aim to prevent bacterial colonization of surfaces. This has relevance in many systems for example for infections of medical devices or bacterial biofilm formation in the environment. Furthermore, the solution chemistry of metal complexes with antibacterial and antibiofilm effect is investigated.

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Sauer-Eriksson, Elisabeth

Elisabeth Sauer-ErikssonThe research is focused on high resolution structural studies on macromolecules based on X-ray crystallographic techniques. Research projects include studies of protein components involved in pathogen-host cell interaction, structure-based drug discovery, amyloid-forming proteins, and RNA and RNA-protein complexes.

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Sauer, Uwe

Uwe Sauer

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Schröder, Wolfgang

Wolfgang SchröderChaperones are proteins that assist the proper folding of newly synthesized proteins. They are important in preventin misfolding and aggregation in the cell and therfore often stress-induced proteins. The thylakoid lumen from plants contains a specific set of chaperones. Our aim is to understand the chaperone network in plants to be able to better prevent protein misfold and to be able to understand how toxic protein aggregates are formed in both plants and humans. Our experimental approaches combine genetics, biochemistry and biophysics.

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Söderström, Hanna

Hanna SöderströmOur research are within the area of environmental analytical chemistry and aim to develop analytical methods and implement studies on distribution of pharmaceuticals to and within the aquatic environments with focus on antiviral drugs and antibiotics and the risk of environmental resistance development in viruses and bacteria.

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Tesfalidet, Solomon

Solomon TesfalidetThis research area focuses on the development of biosensors, based on electrochemical impedance spectrometry, for drug monitoring. Such a biosensor can be used for monitoring the level of cytostatic drugs in patients undergoing cancer treatment, offering a unique opportunity to individually adjust the drug dosage so that the drug concentrations can be maintained within a target range.

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Trygg, Johan

Johan Trygg

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Westlund, Per-Olof

Per-olof WestlundThe theoretical chemical research describes molecular dynamic processes in chemistry from a fundamental physical basis. We derive equations that are used to interpret the experimental results primarily obtained from NMR and ESR and light spectroscopy. Water is of particular interest and we examine how its properties change in the limited space such as in Zeolite , in cellulose fibers or  at the interface between biomolecules and  water. General science seeks to reduce the complexity of biosystems to various molecular processes and we must also ask what is missed in this reductionism?

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Wolf-Watz, Magnus

Magnus Wolf-Watz


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Wu, Yaowen

Yaowen WuOur laboratory is interested in understanding the regulation mechanism and membrane morphogenesis of autophagy and membrane trafficking regulated by small GTPases (G-proteins) using novel chemical and chemo-optogenetic approaches. Our work lies at the interface between chemistry and biology. On one hand, we develop novel chemical and synthetic approaches that open up new avenue for manipulating protein function and visualizing biological processes in live cells. On the other hand, the application of the diverse tools shed light on the mechanism of autophagy and membrane trafficking, facilitating the development of therapeutics against cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

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Page Editor: Mikael Elofsson

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