About the Bijvoet Center

Zooming inThe Bijvoet Center
The scientists at the Bijvoet Center want to understand how life itself works at the smallest possible level, that of the atoms and molecules of which all life is build. All living organisms consist of living cells. Bacteria and yeast are organisms consiting of a single cell each, but larger organisms consist of many cells working together. The body of an adult human contains up to 50 trillion cells.

The Bijvoet Center is a research institute at Utrecht University, where researchers in the fields of chemistry, biology, pharmacy and medicine work together to discover the molecular basis of life. On this website you will information on who we are, what we do and how we do it.

Who we are
The Bijvoet Center consists of research groups distributed over the Departments of Chemistry, Pharmacy and Biology of the Faculty of Science, and the Utrecht University Medical Centre. Each research group has its own expertise and research interest, but the common theme of the research in the Bijvoet Center is elucidating how biomolecules function in the human body and in life in general and how the processes and interactions between biomolecules in living cells are affected in patients.

What we do
Our research includes, for example, research to understand the cause and potential therapeutic approaches for a disease like cystic fibrosis, which is caused by misfolding of the protein CFTR when it is mutated due to a genetic defect. Others examples are the development of so-called nanobullets, which are small antibody fragments, based on the single-chain antibodies found in llamas to target chemotheurapeutics directly to cancer cells in a cancer patient, the understanding of the formation of plaques in the brain of Alzheimer patients, development of quality control methods for the newest forms of antibody based therapies and the study of neurological brain development. The center also trains a new generation of molecular life scientists by offering education for bachelor students and master students and supervising PhD candidates in their doctoral thesis research.

How we do it
To allow us to study the molecules of life in such detail, we use advanced analytical technologies such as advanced mass spectrometry, high-resolution NMR spectroscop, X-ray crystallography, as well as electron and light microscopy. Additional biochemical and molecular techniques are used to further study the function, localization, and interactions of biomolecules in the intracellular and extracellular environment and in biomembranes. Many of technologies are also available at the facilities of the Bijvoet Center to other life scientists, through collaboration with our researchers.