Developing our knowledge of biological systems is essential for more effectively predicting and imitating the way a living organism works, particularly for therapeutic purposes.
The structural and functional characterization of molecules (isolated or combined in complexes), along with the quantification, modeling and prediction of biological phenomena, requires multidisciplinary research to be conducted involving biology, physics, chemistry, bioinformatics and mathematics. The challenges are at once scientific, medical and technological with, for example, the development of new molecular and subcellular imaging methods.
Identifying the structure of a protein or an assembly of several proteins sheds light on its role in a disease, thereby ultimately paving the way to the development of drugs or prevention of resistance mechanisms for some of them.
By cutting to the heart of biological phenomena in this way, we are increasing our understanding of networks of interactions and reactions between biomolecules. This "systemic" overview makes it easier to identify those mechanisms behind disruptions that are caused by a disease.
The production, from natural biological elements, of artificial systems endowed with a specific function is a key challenge for such fields as the deciphering of energy mechanisms or development of molecular machines. This is because our ability to reproduce certain natural phenomena, like photosynthesis for example, is a potential source of major technological breakthroughs.
This deeper knowledge of the “molecular world” also makes it possible to characterize the harmful compounds on which more effective management of the risks of chemical substances depends. The use of biological compounds to reduce the toxic and polluting effects of a chemical industry under pressure to become "green" is a fine example of practical application of research on living organism structures.
Director : Jean-Claude Michalski
Deputy Director : Carine Giovannangeli
Scientific Policy Officer : Corinne Brachet-Ducos
Increasing our knowledge of the molecular and structural bases of the living organism is only possible through combined approaches.
Interview of Thierry Meinnel, Director of the thematic multi-organization institute Molecular and structural bases of living organisms from 2009 to 2012