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Structural Biology, Bioinformatics and Drug Discovery: Learning from Cancer Therapeutics to Fight Mycobacterial Infections in Leprosy and Cystic Fibrosis

The history of genetic diseases is not related only to modern history. Early paintings, drawings, and sculptures show patients with a strong clinical picture characteristic of a genetic disease. But in order to have a better understanding of the complex phenomena related to genetic diseases we need to look at its aspects from a molecular perspective. Research conducted in this regard is not limited to the diagnosis and treatment of a chromosomal abnormality. A patient with a genetic disease is “one of a kind”, especially when it comes to infections. One of the most notorious examples is found in patients with cystic fibrosis. For people with CF, being close to others with the disease puts them at greater risk of getting and spreading dangerous germs and bacteria. This is called cross‐infection. Not only are these dangerous germs difficult to treat, but they can also lead to worsening symptoms and faster decline in lung function. This phenomenon is intensely studied in the biochemistry department of University of Cambridge. 


Sir Tom Bundell

Sir Tom Blundell is a British biochemist, structural biologist, and science administrator. He was a member of the team of Dorothy Hodgkin that solved in 1969 the first structure of a protein hormone, insulin. Blundell has made contributions to the structural biology of polypeptide hormones, growth factors, receptor activation, signal transduction, and DNA double-strand break repair, subjects important in cancer, tuberculosis, and familial diseases. He has developed software for protein modelling and understanding the effects of mutations on protein function, leading to new approaches to structure-guided and Fragment-based lead discovery.


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