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At this page you will find the current and already finished research projects performed within the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology. Each project is explained by a short description of the research.  

The research of the Pharmaceutical Biology group is related to the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP) that is part of the Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE). In addition, GUIDE is composed of some research groups from the Medical Faculty.

The research performed within the Department of Pharmaceutical Biology has been divided in the following three research groups:

  • plant biotechnology
  • molecular biology
  • cell biology

Plant biotechnology

The research of the plant biotechnology group focuses on the production of drugs using plant cell cultures and plants. Mostly, this comprises bioactive secondary metabolites. Current projects that involve this work are the following: the production and isolation of the anti-malaria drug Artemisin from the plant Artemisia annua with the use of plants and plant cell cultures; the production of cytostatic lignans in cell suspensions, organ cultures and plants from Linum flavum and bioconversions, like hydroxylation or glycosylation, by either using plant cell cultures or enzymes isolated from them.

Molecular biology

The research of the molecular biology group focuses on the generation of biological variety via in vitro evolutionary techniques. This research is employed for enzyme/substrate interactions and for receptor-ligand binding. DNA mutagenesis and phage display techniques are of utmost importance for the generation of variants of pharmaceutical relevant peptides and proteins. The ultimate goal of the research is to improve the effectiveness of pharmaceutical proteins and enzymes via modern protein engineering.

Cell biology

The research of the cell biology group focuses on the production and secretion of pharmaceutical relevant proteins by specialised bacterial hosts. A large amount of pharmaceutical proteins that evolved from biotechnology were registered as drug during the last decade. These proteins that are commonly found in human are mainly administered as therapeutics to overcome specific deficiencies. The cell biology group studies the expression of human proteins in bacterial cell factories, with a special focus on protein folding, secretion, and modification. The protein secretion mechanisms are extensively investigated to identify so-called bottlenecks for heterologous gene expression. The ultimate goal within the framework of an EU project is the optimisation of Bacillus subtilis for the production of pharmaceutical proteins.

Last modified:11 October 2012 09.50 a.m.
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