Biological chemistry is the interface between chemistry and biology, requiring both synthetic organic chemistry skills and a knowledge of biochemistry
Typically we are approached with biological problems and asked what might be tried to answer these questions through the use of our chemical skills. This might involve developing a new analytical method, advising on the best way to label a biological molecule, or devising a strategy to find inhibitors to use as tools to investigate a specific biological process.
We have a purpose-built chemistry laboratory in which we can carry out almost any chemical reaction on a research scale and use analytical facilities on site and off site depending on the project requirements. Much of our work uses the mass spectroscopy facilities at the Institute, mass spectroscopy being particularly good at providing the sensitivity and selectivity required to study the small amounts of materials found within cells.
A key requirement in developing new analytical techniques, or in identifying new chemical structures found within cells is to make standards. This often requires the inclusion of stable isotopes into the structure, which makes the masses of the synthetic molecules slightly different to the “natural” compounds, but which behave almost identically to “natural” form in every other way. This can be very challenging work, making molecules which might not have been made before, or having to make the molecules using new routes and methods in order to label them in the desired way.
Enquiries can be made via the facility's 'Contact Us' web page