The Institute of Molecular Cell Biology (IMC) strives to elucidate how the integration of molecular structure, function and behavior can lead to a functional living cell. Subjects under elucidation range from the structural dynamics of domains within macromolecules and subunits of macromolecular assemblies, through the integration of pathways and organelles, to the interactions of a cell with its immediate environment. The integration generates new functional properties through the nonlinear, dynamic and spatial nature of the interactions between biological macromolecules.
The IMC wishes to determine how:
- dynamic interactions of functional units create new functional properties that cannot be attributed to the properties of individual parts;
- perturbations of molecular structures and their interactions cause malfunction and disease,
- subtle interference might lead to more effective therapies of multifactorial disease;
- optimization of the integration may improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of biological production methods.
The IMC strives to generate excellent human potential for the above and its applications, by engaging in excellent teaching of Molecular and Integrative Cell Biology and its many supporting disciplines.
The institute’s research is based upon the finding that life requires the dynamic changes and interactions of quite a number of biomolecules. Partly by genetic programming, partly by self-organization, partly by pre-specification, partly by external factors, physical and chemical processes become life processes.
In many scientific disciplines any of these categories of phenomena are studied independently of one another. The key vision of the Institute of Molecular Cell Biology is that above all individuality it is the integration of these phenomena that matters most for the function and malfunction of living organisms. It is a web of vertical and horizontal paths of interactions that define the smallest unit of life, the cell.
An example of such a vertical path is the connection of events leading from the genome through the transcriptome, the proteome and the metabolome to cell function. Another example is the horizontal path corresponding to the entry, translation, amplification and the ultimate conversion of a signal. In particular the multifactorial, multigenic diseases, which constitute the main threats to human health, result out of malfunction during such complex interactions.
For more information about the The Institute for Molecular Cell Biology: What, How, When and with Whom