The scientists at the Bijvoet Centre want to understand how life itself works at the smallest possible level, that of the atoms and molecules of which all life is build. All living organisms consist of living cells. Bacteria and yeast are organisms consisting of a single cell each, but larger organisms consist of many cells working together. The body of an adult human contains up to 50 trillion cells.
The Bijvoet Centre is a research institute at Utrecht University, where researchers in the fields of chemistry, biology, pharmacy and medicine work together to discover the molecular basis of life. On this website you will information on who we are, what we do and how we do it.
The general research theme at the Bijvoet Centre 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 proteins leads to cystic fibrosis and how we can use that understanding to come up with potential therapeutic approaches. Another example is the development, jointly with pharmaceutical companies, of therapeutic antibody proteins that can help to treat cancer or infectious diseases.
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 Centre 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 Centre provides education to bachelor students through a dedicated Molecular Life Science track in the Chemistry curriculum of Utrecht University, and organizes programmes for the education of bachelor students (Molecular Life Science), master students (Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences) and for PhD students (Molecular Life Science).