Research groups at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry

The research in the Biosyn-group is focused on the design, synthesis and function of the four major types of biomolecules: nucleic acids, carbohydrates, peptides and lipids and hybrid structures thereof. These biomolecules and their derivatives are used in drug discovery and chemical biology, to develop synthetic methodology or as an inspiration for mimetic design.

The long term goal of our group is to reach understanding of structure, dynamics and functional mechanisms of membrane proteins and self-organized biological assemblies and to translate this knowledge into new concepts for nano-devices, medicine, and new materials of technical importance.

Research within our group revolves around the atomic structures of large bio-molecules and their complexes.

The research aim of the Surface Chemistry and Catalysis group is to probe and understand chemical reactions on well-defined, mostly single crystalline, surfaces at the molecular level. The group combines state-of-the-art experimental setups to study surface catalytic reactions using a variety of spectroscopic techniques, both at the metal-uhv and metal-liquid interface, with computational techniques based on density functional theory and dynamic Monte Carlo simulations.

The research is aimed at understanding protein & nucleic acid structure, function and interactions. Particular interests comprise protein-protein interactions & enzyme function (Prof. Ubbink) and chromatin research, such as structure and function of nucleosomes (Dr. van Ingen) and biophysical aspects of protein - DNA interactions (Dr. Dame).

The section houses equipment for recombinant protein production and a variety biophysical characterisation methods.

A major part of the research of the Medical Biochemistry section focuses on inherited lysosomal storage disorders involving glycolipids (such as Gaucher - and Niemann Pieck disease) by a multidisciplinary effort of biochemists, organic chemists and clinicians. Particular attention is paid to biomarker discovery using advanced proteomics and lipidomics as well as development of small compound therapeutics.

Research at MCBIM, the inorganic chemistry group of the LIC, involves chemistry taking place within the coordination sphere of metal ions such as copper(II), iron(II), ruthenium(II), or europium(III).
The synthesis of organic ligands and their coordination to metal ions is realized first; then the geometry, spectroscopic properties, and reactivity of the metal-containing molecules are studied. Applications span from homogeneous catalysis to photo catalysis; from functional materials to chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.

The research aim of the Molecular Physiology group is to design, synthesize and apply new chemical tools to answer important biological and medical questions. We use activity-based protein profiling, assay development, chemical proteomics and advanced molecular biology techniques to determine the activity and selectivity of small molecules in physiological and disease processes. We have a focus on cancer, metabolic and brain disorders.

The research in the Supramolecular & Biomaterials Chemistry group concerns both theoretical fundamentals and applications of supramolecular chemistry and chemical bio-nanotechnology. Research topics are: (a) model systems for lipid membrane fusion inspired by SNARE proteins, (b) drug delivery systems based on hydrogels and silica nanoparticles, and (c) models for protein-membrane complexes in photosynthesis.

The main goal of the Theoretical Chemistry group, is to achieve the ability to predict the outcome of chemical reactions involving hydrogen from first principles. This goal is important in almost all fields of chemistry and in many fields of physics.

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