Science Directors: Jan Steyaert & Han Remaut
Proteins and their complexes play critical roles in nearly all cellular functions. Accordingly, dysfunction in their assembly, lifetime, localization, or dynamics is central in many diseases, be it hereditary, sporadic or infectious.
The VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology (SBRC) studies the structure and dynamics of macromolecular complexes to explain their mode of action in health and disease. Two research foci are protein signaling cascades and bacterial host-pathogen interactions. This structural biology work is integrated with genetic and cellular studies, thus bridging molecular and cellular resolution.
The center uses an integrated approach, combining expertise in all major techniques for structural biology (biophysics, NMR, X-ray, cryo-EM) complemented with a unique and differentiating Nanobody® technology platform. It excels in translating discoveries into biotechnological and medical applications.
A lot of our research projects are conducted in close partnership with other research groups around the world. The center also founded Nanobodies4Instruct as part of Instruct-ERIC, one of the first ESFRI projects that provides cutting-edge technology, scientific expertise and pioneering training. Any scientist from an Instruct member state can submit a proposal for access to the Nanobodies4Instruct center for the generation of conformational Nbs and now also megabodies to facilitate the structural analysis of proteins that are notoriously difficult to purify, crystallize or study by any other method.
In accordance with VIB’s entrepreneurial spirit, SBRC has an excellent track record in terms of spin-offs, even though it has a strong focus on fundamental research. The prime example is the development of Nanobody® technology, which gave rise to Ablynx and other companies. This was achieved with a healthy internal mix of science and entrepreneurship, complemented and supported by the strengths of VIB’s valorization team.
- Ablynx is focused on the discovery and development of Nanobodies®, a novel class of antibody-derived therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, for a range of serious human diseases including inflammation, haematology, oncology and pulmonary disease.
- AgroSavfe employs its proprietary Agrobody™ technology platform to develop superior crop protection products, based on active ingredients with proven efficacy, in combination with Agrobodies™ as formulation agents.
- Confo Therapeutics uses single domain antibodies to stabilize dynamic proteins, in order to improve drug discovery processes.
Funding & partners
Our research is supported by the Flemish government and several (inter)national funding bodies but also by numerous charity organizations that recognize the importance of combining fundamental and clinical research to generate therapeutic breakthroughs.
VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology
Vrije Universiteit Brussel