Evolving and Engineering Biomolecules

Researcher in front of lab equipment © University of Canterbury

Flagship Leader: Professor Renwick Dobson

Under this flagship theme, we are exploring fundamental questions of how molecules evolve, function and interact.

Our work includes harnessing biomolecular interactions, creating enzymes with novel properties, rewiring cells to produce biomolecules in short supply, utilising long-term evolution experiments to better understand structure, function and evolution of proteins, investigating plant pathogen interactions and studying protein interactions in the context of disease.

Engineering Biotechnology

Flagship two

Flagship Leader: Associate Professor Volker Nock

This flagship brings together rapid prototyping and advanced manufacturing technologies from the engineering disciplines to help inform molecular and cellular life sciences. To achieve this, the flagship incorporates a diversity of input from the physical sciences and engineering with the aim to develop new platforms that help unravel the complexity of biology.

We work with cells, animals and plants and our research spans the biological hierarchy from molecules to whole organisms. We are focused on the following broad areas of activity: 3D printed devices for bioseparations, biomolecular interactions on surfaces, biomolecular interactions related to disease, biochemistry on chips and sourcing of advanced materials from nature’s pantry.

Chemical Biology

Professor Antony Fairbanks

Flagship Leader: Professor Antony Fairbanks

Chemical Biology is where synthetic chemistry acts as an enabling science to allow the study and manipulation of biological systems and processes. The goals of Chemical Biology are two-fold: firstly to provide molecular level insight into biological processes, and secondly to reveal windows of opportunity for interference with said processes, for example for the development of new therapies.