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Biosciences and Biotechnology Institute of Grenoble

Published on 25 January 2018

General Presentation of the Institute
Structure of the institute
Scientific project
Jérôme GARIN

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Genes hold the information necessary for the synthesis of proteins, which ensure the great diversity of cell functions, from the catalyzing of enzyme reactions to the structuring of living matter. Historically speaking, the laboratories that were at the origin of the Biosciences and Biotechnology Institute of Grenoble have always placed the study of the proteins at the heart of their interests. The aim of projects that are carried out in our institute is to examine biological processes on a molecular scale, while seeking to elucidate the fine architecture of the proteins involved in these processes, to monitor their dynamic interactions with other partners and to understand their reactivity. Then, the molecular information can be integrated on a larger scale and related to biological functions. This research is benefited by the unique environment of the site, on which the institute is a neighbour to the IBS, UVHCI and the major European instruments (ESRF, ILL).

Our research contributes to more finalized work that is carried out in biotechnologies and in technologies for life science and health. By interacting with the nanotechnology teams that are present on the site, particularly those of the CEA Technological Research Division of the CEA (Leti, Liten), in order to develop innovative tools for the analysis of living beings or the production of energy, our research teams place their work within a continuum between basic research and applied research. Thus, several companies or start-ups have been created by researchers of our institute, doctoral students or post-docs. Proteine'Xpert (now PX'Therapeutics) was hosted for many years within the Institute. This is still the case for ImmunID, which carries out tests that measure the impact of drugs or the infectious risk level of a patient. Cytoo emerged from the Biopuce laboratory (now BioMiCs team). This start up develops products for cellular analysis and high-content cell screening. PROMISE Advanced Proteomics was created in 2010. This biotech, a spin-off of the EDyP Proteomics team, designs, promotes and implements innovative technologies in the field of quantitative proteomics to accompany and speed up the development of therapeutic proteins and biomarkers.

Structure of our institute​

Since January 2011, our institute is structured into four research units: two joint units involving CEA, Inserm and the University of Grenoble Alpes​, and two involving CEA, CNRS and the University of Grenoble. Within this framework, all of the research projects carried out are organized around a structural theme: "Inspired by the architectures of life".

At the heart of the institute research facilities, the Large-Scale Biology (BGE) laboratory is studying biological problems (particularly in the cancer domain) from a technological and methodological angle (proteomics, RNAi, genetics, high content screening, bioinformatics), which is its specificity and its area of expertise. Interacting closely with BGE, the research of the three other research units concentrate on biological problems and well-identified models. Combining approaches ranging from molecular biology to biomimetic chemistry, the Chemistry and Biology of Metals (CBM) laboratory examine questions relating to the physiological role, structure, chemical reactivity and regulation of biological systems using and transporting metal ions, making use of various biological models (eukaryotes and prokaryotes). The Cell and Plant Physiology (PCV) laboratory puts in place functional and integrative genomics approaches (from the molecule to the organism) in order to study, firstly, cell compartmentalization and the dynamics of plant metabolism, and, secondly, the molecular bases of morphogenesis in animal and plant systems. Finally, the Biology of Cancer and Infection (BCI) laboratory develops a research continuum ranging from an understanding of proteins that are isolated or in complexes, to the application of this understanding to the health domain. The four laboratories have chosen to ensure the originality of the scientific questions being asked and of the strategies being implemented, which gives each of them a specific position in the national scientific landscape.

BGE, CBM, PCV and BCI laboratories share common methodological approaches that make extensive use our​ platforms (molecular & cell imaging, proteomics, automated screening of collections of molecules (including siRNAs), nanotechnology, modelling, laboratory animals facilities, Mössbauer spectrometry). Their objective is to test concepts and mechanisms that are potentially valid across the board, in living beings; for this, the most appropriate experimental system is chosen, and interactions take place with other disciplines in order to adapt the problems being studied to the tools of physicists and chemists (mass spectrometry, imaging, etc.), as well as to those of mathematicians and IT specialists (modelling). Thus, the project of our institute is completely transdisciplinary in that it seeks to bring together various disciplines: microbiology, plant biology, animal and human biology, biology and chemistry, biology and physics, biology and mathematics.