Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms

Department of Biomolecular Mechanisms

In the general excitement of a time when three-dimensional protein structures of whole genomes are being determined automatically, it is often forgotten that a structure in itself does not tell one how the molecule works or folds.

For that, one needs to know a great deal about mechanism, intermediates, structural dynamics and molecular interactions. We gather this information using a wide range of biochemical and biophysical techniques, including molecular biology, transient kinetics and crystallography, mass spectrometry, and computation, to understand how the "jigglings and wigglings of atoms" underlie and contribute to biological function. We study light-induced reactions and those that make use of flavin or heme cofactors, the unique biochemical pathways in anamoxosomes, giant viruses and their virophages as well as their assembly. In addition, we are using X-ray free-electron lasers for structural biology, exploring and further developing their applications.