The general research theme at the Bijvoet Center is the functioning of biomolecules in the human body and in living organisms in general and how distortion of the processes and interactions between biomolecules leads to the development of disease. This includes, for example, research to understand how the improper folding of the CFTR protein leads to cystic fibrosis and how we can use that understanding to come up with potential therapeutic approaches. Another example is our work on so-called nanobullets, which are small antibody fragments that allow targeting chemotherapeutics directly to a patient's cancer cells.
Such research involves a detailed study of the three-dimensional structure, chemical features, localization in cells and tissues of the proteins involved, as well as insight into how their expression in cells is regulated and what interactions they have with other biomolecules. To study all these molecular features, the Bijvoet Center houses infrastructure with the latest technology in mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy, electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography for resolving structures at the atomic level and interactions between molecules. Biochemical and molecular techniques are used to study the function, localization, and interactions of biomolecules in the intracellular and extracellular environment and in biomembranes.
The Bijvoet Center provides education to bachelor students through a dedicated Molecular Life Science track in the Chemistry curriculum of Utrecht University, and has a dedicated programme for the education of master students (Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences) and for PhD students (Molecular Life Science).