Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology Department

Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology Department


Director :  Sylvie Nessler


Deputy  Directors : Anja Krieger-Liszkay 


 & Françoise Ochsenbein

Research in the B3S department focuses on unraveling the mechanisms of structure and function relationships
and on engineering biological macromolecules.


The B3S teams are interested in protein architectures, and study how their different structural levels and interactions regulate their functions. They study soluble and membrane protein assemblies involved in major biological processes of eukaryotic and bacterial cells.

Studies performed in this department are based on the joint use of molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology and modeling approaches.

Structural Biology

This range of techniques helps in understanding the molecular mechanisms of biological structures and biochemical reactions at different scales, from electrons and protons via atoms and molecules to multicellular organisms. Through these approaches, the B3S teams participate in the development of the four thematic axes of the I2BC.

Biochemical reactions, interactions and enzymatic processes, including large conformational changes and rearrangements within proteins and protein-complexes, are often initiated by a transfer of subatomic particles – electrons and protons.

Studying the atomic structures of proteins with and without ligands can for example help determine how the structure of the active site enables an enzyme to perform its activity.

At molecular scales, biochemical and biophysical analyses as well as structure determination of protein-protein, or protein-nucleic acid complexes, helps in describing the interaction of active biological assemblies and how their dynamics control biochemical reactions as well as the design of new artificial complexes for biotechnological needs.

At the multi-molecular and macroscopic scales, the study of the composition, structure and dynamics of macromolecules that recruit large numbers of partners and in vitro reconstitution of cellular functions lead to an understanding of the regulation of complex processes in vivo.

Research groups

Group Leaders


Group Leader



Sylvie Nessler 

Anja Krieger-Liszkay     

Françoise  Ochsenbein 



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