Video: ICR researchers led by Professor Alessandro Vannini have captured images of molecular machinery called RNA Polymerase III in the act of transcribing a gene in exquisite and unprecedented detail.
Researchers in the division use a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques to understand protein structures, with a particular focus on X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy.
By combining structural biology with biochemistry and functional studies, researchers are able to gain an understanding of important biochemical interactions in the spread of cancer throughout a patient’s body.
Joint appointments with other divisions
Consequently, several team leaders in Structural biology have joint appointments with other divisions (e.g. Cancer Biology and Cancer Therapeutics) to facilitate the exploitation of the molecular understanding of biological mechanisms in the development of new cancer therapies.
Current research activities include studying key cancer stem cell signalling processes (Dr Sebastian Guettler), the role of the proteasome and the Cop9 signalosome in protein degradation and turnover (Dr Ed Morris), and transcription regulation (Dr Alessandro Vannini).
All of these research areas have the potential to open up novel therapeutic strategies. The division also uses high-throughput screening on a variety of cancer targets, in order to identify and develop potential new candidate drugs for cancer therapy (Dr Rob Van Montfort).