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The Structural Basis of Infection: A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Approach


A major theme of our work is providing a detailed understanding of structure-function relationships in pathogen infection. Understanding the structural basis of the complex mechanisms by which bacterial and viral pathogens are able to colonise hosts is crucial to the rational design of drugs and vaccines. Progress in this area has benefited greatly from interactions with the newly established Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection at IC. <P>
The aims of our research programme are: <OL> <LI> Determine structures of virulence factors from key bacterial pathogens (including E. coli, Salmonella typhi, H. pylori); <LI> Characterise the molecular and structural properties responsible for their function; <LI> Propose plausible models for functional mechanisms; <LI> Suggest novel strategies for the design of prevention or intervention therapies. </ol>
We are also endeavouring to improve NMR strategies for structure determination and have established modified protocols for the rapid determination of structure from deuterated material that is supplemented with dipolar couplings. This is highlighted by our recent discovery of a new and robust liquid crystal for the measurement of residual dipolar couplings.<P>
The cryo-technology will ensure that the biological NMR unit at IC remains cost-effective and internationally competitive, enabling the group to embrace future collaborations, new directions, expedite viable projects and increase the feasibility of ambitious ventures.

Imperial College - London
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