Biological Chemistry and Bioinformatics

Biological chemistry and bioinformatics (BCB)

Studies of biological molecules and processes at atomic resolution increasingly generate enormous volumes of data that empower machine learning and artificial intelligence methods. This now places modern science is on the cusp of major revolutions in understanding complex biological systems, causes of disease, predicting effects of novel therapies, and engineering biology based and sustainably sourced products.

The Biological Chemistry and Bioinformatics group focuses on research projects from several broad areas, using tools of structural biology, biophysics, bioinformatics, and “big data”. These areas include:

  • Signal transduction pathway enzymes
  • DNA-modulating molecules and systems
  • Molecules involved in host-pathogen interactions
  • Environmental adaptation of molecules
  • Marine microbiology and biotechnology

Connected to the core competencies of the group, BCB manages the Norwegian Structural Biology Centre (NorStruct), a node of the national crystallography platform NorCryst, and also the Tromsø node of Elixir, a distributed infrastructure for life-science information. The core technologies of the group include

  • protein and small molecule crystallography
  • recombinant bacterial protein expression and purification
  • biophysical studies of protein-ligand interactions
  • bioinformatics and cheminformatics
  • development of bioinformatics infrastructures and big data analyses
  • genomics/metagenomics
  • next generation sequencing
  • MS-based proteomics

The core areas and technologies support the basic and applied research activities of the scientific staff, their collaborators, and students at all levels. Many projects are related to industry and innovation. Studies of protein kinases, beta-lactamases, and other enzymes include drug design projects for anticancer drugs, combatting antibiotic resistance development, and novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. A large collection of environmental samples from the Arctic (sediments, biota & sea water) as well as culture collection of more than a thousand bacterial isolates provides a rich source for marine bioprospecting efforts. These are valuable for the discovery and design of small molecules and of enzymes for commercial applications. Novel enzymes and microorganisms offer new approaches to increase sustainability of a wide variety of industrial processes. Finally, the development of algorithms, software solutions and e-infrastucture for genomics data is currently a priority area of the group.

Group Leader

Scientific Staff

Research Scientists

Technical and Administrative Staff