The primary goal of structural biology is a mechanistic understanding of biological macromolecules and of biological processes so that they can be described in the language of physics and chemistry. This requires an exact knowledge of the three-dimensional structures, of the respective molecules and of their complexes such that the spatial position of each atom can be precisely described.
The visualization of a gene product, in particular the localization within a biological specimen is one of the basic topics in cell biology. Applying fluorescence labeling methods molecules can be detected by light microscopy, even in living cells. Nevertheless, the associated morphological structure can be identified in most cases only by electron microscopy.
The light microscopy facility offers access to state-of-the-art microscopes, including confocal microscopy, and a variety of methods to retrieve the visible information from living specimens of animals, plants or single cells. Computer tools for image analysis and visualization of data are provided.
The genome center is equipped with both Sanger and next generation sequencing facilities. The genome center offers small-scale service sequencing, for example, to verify plasmid constructs as well as high-throughput sequencing, for example, to shot gun sequence BACs and fosmids.
Understanding the function of a protein requires a knowledge of its three-dimensional structure and the structural changes it undergoes over time. NMR spectroscopy is the only technique available to study the structure and dynamics of proteins as well as the complexes they form with atomic detail in solution.