Towards novel anti-inflammatory compounds

February 20, 2013

The project focuses on proteins involved in the inflammation process, and located in the neutrophils. Neutrophils are the most abundant type of leukocytes, and are an integral part of the immune system. Inflammation is the first response of the immune system to infection, injury or irritation and is characterized by pain, warmth, redness, swelling. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a disease where the inflammatory machinery degrades the organism instead of protecting it. Our work contributes to the understanding of this machinery, and thereby lays the ground for the development of drugs against inflammatory diseases.

Experimental study of the three-dimensional structure and dynamics of proteins faces many difficulties that have not been overcome yet. For this reason computations, or molecular modeling, are an indispensable tool and they complement techniques such as X-ray diffraction experiments, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) or electron microscopy (EM). We use computer simulations to obtain information on the motions of proteins and on their three-dimensional structures. We use the information obtained to, among other applications, design specific markers, inhibitors or drug candidates. Our toolbox includes molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, normal modes analysis (NMA), docking, etc…

In addition to Nathalie Reuter, the research group counts on average four PhD students and two postdoctoral associates, recruited both in Norway and from abroad. In addition we welcome one to two trainees on European exchange programs every year, as well as master students. The BFS funding has given us a unique opportunity to develop a strong and international research group at the University of Bergen.

Name: Nathalie Reuter
Age at project start: 36
PhD: PhD in Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, Université Henri Poincaré-Nancy I, France, Nov. 1999
Citizenship: French
Department/Faculty Department of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Grant from BFS: 7.200.000 NOK
Additional Funding: 7.900.000 NOK
Start/end of project: 2009-2013
Web: Link to project web site

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