Biological Chemistry is a discipline that combines chemical and biological sciences. All aspects of Chemistry are included, but with particular emphasis on biologically important molecules; macromolecules like proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids as well as small organic molecules. This interdisciplinary research range from detailed studies of the structure and function of single molecules to complex biological processes studied in vivo.
Studies are performed at the molecular level often utilizing advanced spectroscopic techniques, like NMR, mass spectrometry, fluorescence spectroscopy, and time-resolved methods to get information of the molecular interactions and self-assemblies in living systems. Thus, Biological Chemistry encompasses Physical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Genetics, Molecular Modelling, Cheminformatics and Bioinformatics as well as Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Genetics and Cell Biology. In particular, in Biological Chemistry one determines the structure and probes dynamics of biological macromolecules and investigates the functional role and molecular mechanisms underlying various biological phenomena in living organisms. In short, Biological Chemistry uses the tools of chemistry to probe and manipulate biological systems to obtain a mechanistic understanding at the molecular level.
The research activities at the Department of Chemistry have a strong focus on Biological Chemistry. One of the major directions is studies of the physiochemical properties of lipids, membranes and their interactions with various biologically relevant peptides.
Another research interest is focusing on understanding the underlying mechanisms of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and urinary tract infection. This is achieved by applying computational tools like molecular modeling and chemometrics in combination with experimental efforts using small synthesized bioorganic molecules.
Within the field of biophysics, research is aimed at understanding the structure, conformational dynamics, and function of proteins of key biological relevance. This includes the molecular mechanism underlying protein folding and how external factors affect this process. We also study diseases that appear when the folding process goes wrong, diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have a strong technological platform including solution and solid state NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography and various other state of the art spectroscopic and calorimetric instruments. The activities of the chemistry department also cover functional genomics and systems biology where technologies such as proteomics and metabolomics in combination with bioinformatics and chemometrics are used to study the function of proteins as well as to understand human disease processes.