The cell is the basis of all life and disease. Therefore understanding the molecular functions of eukaryotic cells and their communication with other cells and the environment is at the heart of understanding healthy life as well as disease at the molecular level.
The focus of the department is the functional cell, its genetic components and molecular cellular mechanisms in a medical context. With a firm foundation in the basic function of the normal and differentiating cell an understanding of the molecular, cellular and genetic mechanisms behind disease and aging is sought.
The aim of the department is to exploit new discoveries and mechanistic insight as guidelines for translational medicine in terms of novel principles for treatment and diagnosis of disease in an internationally competitive, inspiring, productive scientific environment exploiting state of the art (and beyond) methodology.
Research Programs at ICMM
Insight into morphogenesis and differentiation is crucial for the understanding of normal organ development and pathogenesis including development of cancer. This program focuses on the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. Our research topics include stem cell biology, proteins and lipids in membrane domains including their trafficking and sorting, receptors and cell signalling. >>
Nucleic acids are at the center of gene expression and control, both in terms of the genome (the DNA) itself and through expressed coding (messenger) and non-coding (micro and structural) RNAs. This program is focusing on posttranscriptional RNA modification (e.g. in ribosomal RNA), functional aspects of DNA conformation, and on principles of genetic therapeutic approaches, specifically exploiting peptide nucleic acids (PNA) within antibiotics and muscular dystrophy. >>
Glycosylation is one of the most abundant forms of posttranslational modifications. Glycans play a wide array of different biological roles from direct effects on folding, processing, sorting, and functions of proteins, to serving as ligands in important adhesion events for cell-cell interactions. The Copenhagen Center for Glycomics focuses on the importance of glycans in biology and translating such findings into new tools to monitor and treat human disease. >>
Our research topics include analysis of human genetic disorders associated with premature aging and cancer predisposition, the role of homologous recombination in suppression of chromosomal instability, the role of DNA repair pathways in ensuring faithful DNA replication and chromosome segregation as well as cellular stress signaling, mitochondrial functions, mitochondrial genome stability, DNA repair, and changes with aging >>
Centers associated ICMM
Chromosomal instability is an underlying cause of several age-related disorders, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Changes in chromosome number and structure can be triggered not only by DNA damaging agents, but also by intrinsically unstable regions of the human genome itself - which we term the ‘enemies within’ the genome.
The overarching goal of the CCS is to functionally annotate these ‘enemies within’, and determine how they contribute to tissue ageing, limit cell immortality and trigger pathological conditions.
In response to the critical and increasing worldwide threat to human health posed by emergence of bacterial resistance to currently used antibiotics, it is the vision to establish a knowledge and technology platform for discovery of novel antibiotics against multi-resistant Gram-negative bacteria that is able to keep pace with continuing resistance development.
The strategy focuses on peptide-based antibiotics by exploiting unleashed advantages of peptides that interact with the bacterial envelope and by elucidating their mechanism of action. In particular, an antisense antibacterial approach as well as discovery of peptide-based adjuvant antibiotics and novel peptide carriers for efficient bacterial delivery is pursued.
The research in Center for Healthy Aging focuses on how more people can get a healthy life and a healthy aging. The research is interdisciplinary and looks at aging and aging processes from cells to society. The research will provide knowledge which can form the basis for new approaches to prevention and health promotion for the benefit of the individual, family and community health economics.
The focus of research in the group affiliated to ICMM is Basic research into cells and genes. It is important for understanding how we decline throughout life and become more liable to disease. Having this knowledge means, we might be able to postpone the point in life at which illnesses associated with old age typically occur, and thus give many people more years of high quality life.
The glycome is considered the third language of life after the genome and the proteome. It comprises the myriad of sugars, also known as the complex carbohydrates, which cover the surface of our proteins and cells.
At Copenhagen Center for Glycomics, researchers strive to understand how changes in the glycome can cause or predict disease. Precise gene editing technologies such as CRISPR/CAS9 are applied to regulate the expression of genes, which encode glycome-producing enzymes, and an array of advanced technologies including mass spectrometry are used to characterize the phenotype of the genetically modified cells. This strategy has been successful in discovering new types and functions of glycosylation in health and disease, and has led to visions of custom-designed cell factories for production of recombinant glycoprotein therapeutics.