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Biological membranes provide unique environments for biomolecular function. Biomembranes also define the cellular architecture and provide the foundation for cellular identity. The study of biomembranes is a major focus in contemporary life science research with important implications for essentially all fields of basic and applied biomolecular science. The central focus of our research is on membrane proteins. Membrane proteins are involved in an impressive range of biological functions (e.g., signalling, energy transduction, small molecule and ion transport, cell motility, cell-cell interactions, nerve conduction) and are targets for a majority of the pharmaceutical drugs currently on the market. The general scientific and industrial interest in membrane proteins has grown sharply over the past few years, posing new problems and technical challenges for protein chemistry, proteomics, structural biochemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, and biotechnology.

About a quarter of cellular proteins are found embedded in lipid bilayers, where they perform critical functions. Yet, much of their structural and functional properties are still waiting to be unravelled.

Our Group focuses on basic aspects of the folding and assembly of proteins in lipid membranes. Using simplified models we aim to understand how membrane proteins insert, fold and pack in biological membranes, and how they interact with the bilayer lipids.

Our projects provide an optimal interdisciplinary setting for training at the PhD and Postdoctoral level. This work includes basic research in the development of new methodologies as well as its application to specific problems and it has a strong component of interaction with research groups (both in Spain and Internationals) of other specialities covering the full spectrum from Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biophysics.

We are part of the Prometeo 2010/005