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Structure and Function of Biological Membranes

The laboratory is dedicated to advancing to a better understanding of the structure, function, and role of biological membranes in cells and cellular organelles.  We put a special emphasis on the study of the structure and function of membrane molecules (lipids and proteins) and on the investigation of the mechanism by which these molecules control membrane permeability and cellular functions. We provide a multidisciplinary training and research environment including cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, proteomics, cell and molecular spectroscopy, biophysics and structural bioinformatics. As membrane component s are the targets for most pharmaceutical compounds, our studies include hot topics such as cancer diagnostic and treatment, cholesterol and lipid transport, Alzheimer's disease, cell transfection, heavy metals detoxification. Our group has contributed to the development of methodologies that allow the investigation of the structure-activity relationship of membrane proteins at a molecular scale in a well-defined environment. One of our main purpose is to stimulate and coordinate high-level graduate education in membrane biology, and foster career development of membrane scientists in an environment of research excellence. The laboratory develops Basic and Applied Research projects. Our laboratory belongs to the ''Structural Biology and Bioinformatics Center'' at the University of Brussels, and is member of the ''Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules, Bioinformatics and Modelling'' graduate college. Our laboratory is also part of several European (Early Stage Training (EST)'' networks.


Computer-assisted molecular modeling and simulations of the structure, thermodynamics and dynamics of biological macromolecules. Study of the association between biological macromolecules

- Some membrane proteins (ABC transporters) develop resistance to drugs by rejecting pharmacological agents (anticancer agents, antibiotics, ...) to the extracellular medium. A high resolution experimental 3D structure is a prerequisite to get a better insight into their structure-dynamics-function relationship. However obtaining an experimental structure is still remote due to the inherent difficulties in determining the structure of membrane proteins. We resort to computer modeling techniques to build a 3D structure of these proteins. This structure will be a starting point for the understanding of protein-substrate interactions and subsequently for the rational design of potential inhibitors