The focus of research in BCMP lies in the elucidation of molecular mechanisms in biology and disease, emphasizing molecular, structural, and chemical approaches to understanding form and function in biology. The molecular scale investigated in the Department spans from low molecular weight bioactive compounds to proteins, viruses, and other macromolecular assemblies. BCMP faculty are leaders in the structural and mechanistic molecular biology of DNA replication, transcription, and the repair of DNA damage; microRNA biogenesis and function; molecular mechanisms of signal transduction; structural and mechanistic virology and the host response, and NMR spectroscopy of membrane proteins and protein complexes.
Critical expertise within HMS that is deeply rooted in BCMP includes the purification, reconstitution, biochemical analysis, and structure elucidation of proteins and their complexes. BCMP faculty determined the first atomic resolution structures of plant and mammalian viruses, and made major strategic breakthroughs for structural analysis of proteins by NMR. BCMP faculty have elucidated critical structural and mechanistic steps in signaling and autoregulation by tyrosine kinases, integrins, Notch receptors, cell death effectors and innate immunity effectors, and elucidated structures of key immunosuppressive agents and their complexes with protein targets. Additional areas of expertise residing within BCMP are single molecule biophysics, development and distribution of computational tools for structural biology, and the elucidation of biosynthetic pathways and structures of bioactive natural products in the realm of chemical biology.