Health and life sciences


Health is a major societal challenge and addressing it requires that existing knowledge and understanding is furthered in order to achieve the effective and sustainable prevention, treatment and management of disease and disability, while ensuring preparedness and capacity to deal with future global health threats. 

Activities in structural biology methods are using synchrotron radiation, combining cutting-edge technology with ambitious research programme for structures of multifunctional proteins and protein complexes of biomedical relevance, but also developing state-of-the art instrumentation, methods and services determining 3D structure of a biological molecule: of human and viral proteins to understand how they interact with the nucleic acids DNA and RNA.

Focus on:

Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB): EMBL, ESRF, ILL (+ IBS)

Established to provide a unique environment for state-of-the-art integrated structural biology. Focus areas include host-pathogen interaction, membrane protein, extreme environments and fundamental cellular processes such as transcription, covering both basic research related to human health and the development of new methodologies and techniques for the future of integrated structural biology. The PSB includes 20 technical platforms for protein production, protein characterization and structure determination, including for example the Cryo-EM beamline which is shared between EMBL Grenoble, ESRF, ILL and IBS and users of the facility are supported by a team of scientists from each of the four different institutes.


Institute of Structural Biology (IBS): CEA, CNRS, UGA

An internationally recognized research center in the field of integrated structural biology that focuses on the structure and dynamics of proteins and other biological macromolecules to understand how they function at the atomic level and in a cellular environment. See ISBG below.


ISBG (Integrated Structural Biology Grenoble): CEA, CNRS, EMBL, UGA

Approximately 10 IBS research platforms are grouped within the which includes methods, expertise and instruments for structural biology projects, from protein production, purification and crystallization, to structural characterization, biophysical characterization and sample quality control., together supporting the study of proteins, from gene cloning to the determination of their structure and the understanding of their functioning mechanisms. Includes mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, structural analysis by NMR and X-ray, cellular imaging, biophysics characterization, cell free expression, ESPRIT, high-throughput crystallization, robiomol. Part of Instruct-ERIC (pan-European research infrastructure in structural biology) and a FRISBI center (French Infrastructure for Integrated Structural Biology). The IBS platforms are also part of the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB).

Infectious diseases are among the most prevalent causes of human illness and death in the world. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic demonstrated not only the potential global health impact of infectious diseases, but also the devastating consequences for society and economies on a worldwide scale. By furthering understanding of the biology of the pathogen and the molecular mechanisms they use to invade and proliferate inside host cells, research in the field provides vital information for the development of new diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies.

Increasing life-expectancy is accompanied by a surge in the prevalence of chronic conditions, such as cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Research into these fields supports the development of new therapeutic strategies to treat the diseases, thus improving human health, the economy, and society.

Technology is transforming healthcare: faster and more accurate diagnosis, targeted treatment, minimally invasive surgery and remote patient monitoring have all improved patient outcomes, reduced recovery times and complication rates and contributed to a more sustainable system. AI and precision medicine, in particular, hold potential to further revolutionize healthcare.

Proteomics focuses on the identification, localization, and functional analysis of the protein make-up of the cell. Because most diseases are manifested at the level of protein activity, high-throughput proteomic technology therefore has the potential to reveal new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as improve the mechanistic understanding of biological processes.

Example of collaborative project :

Grenoble Drug Design and Discovery Club: CEA, CNRS, EMBL, ESRF, ILL, UGA (+ IAB, IBS, Inserm)

Created in 2021 to connect scientists with an interest in translational biology, as well as advanced platforms and facilities relevant for drug discovery and innovative therapeutic development, in order to foster scientific collaborations and contribute to develop and exploit opportunities arising from the concentration of expertise and resources in the area.