The structure of biological molecules and the complexes they form underpins most biological function. Therefore, structural biology is a key tool in modern biological discovery. We want to understand the structures of biomolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids, and the complexes they form. Structural biology also encompasses understanding how those structures move, and incorporates the principles of molecular biology, biochemistry biophysics, modelling and simulation.
The University of Leeds has historically been strong in the area of X-ray crystallography and external investment has provided funding for an in-house X-ray set (high flux MicroMax007 microfocus rotating anode generator with VariMax optics and Raxis4++ detector and cryostream).
A wide range of techniques are available to analyse and quantify the interactions of biomolecules and their function (ranging from analytical centrifugation (two Beckman XLI instruments) to calorimetry (MicroCal iTC200 and DSC), SPR and thermophoresis).