Basis of the UCMR Research School
The UCMR vision is to establish a world-leading and sustainable science environment promoting cutting-edge biomedical research in molecular infection medicine at Umeå University. To do this, the UCMR consortium has initiated a chemical biology program to dissect molecular mechanisms of virulence in different microorganisms. Groups within this consortium are the pioneers in demonstrating the power of chemical biology in combination with molecular genetics to understand microbial virulence for the development of antimicrobials (see the review in Nature Chem Biol 3:541, 2007).
Chemical biology is emerging as a new means to obtain powerful tools to study complex biological systems. It includes a family of methods that utilize small organic molecules to alter the function of proteins directly rather than indirectly via gene mutations. These are powerful methods that allow the fine dissection of complex biological processes, such as microbial virulence, by identifying proteins, enzymes and receptors required for these processes. The theme of UCMR research is to combine chemical biology with our strong molecular biology program to solve modern day problems of microbial disease.
To sustain our vision in the future, the UCMR Research School will now begin training PhD students to work within a chemical biology curriculum. This program will offer new possibilities to stimulate graduate student training at the interface between biology-biomedicine-chemistry-physics. We anticipate that additional applications for small organic chemical molecules to study biological processes outside of microbial virulence will be included. This planned broadening of our program will lead to the development of a new curriculum for graduate studies within chemical biology.