At EMBL, many groups incorporate different areas of Chemistry into their research, such as chemical synthesis, spectroscopic and spectrometric methods, chemoinformatics, chemical docking and modeling, protein semisynthesis and engineering, as well as analytical and medicinal chemistry.

Chemistry often enables an understanding of biological phenomenona that are difficult to approach in a different way.

EMBL offers the unique opportunity to be involved in development and application of chemical tools (of whichever nature) to answer biological questions. Applications range from deciphering signaling pathways and ligand-macromolecule interactions to drug discovery, to name a few.

Structural biology of macromolecular complexes

scientific diagram

The Wilmanns Group is interested in structural/functional relations of protein targets of biomedical relevance. For some of our targets, we are interested to identify small molecule inhibitors, either to modulate enzymatic activity or to interfere with assembly processes.

Our approach is either by experimental compound screening or by structure-based in silico screening, followed by assay-based refinement of promising compounds using medicinal chemistry. Examples in recent research are on targets from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, protein kinases and a number of transcription factors.

Selected publications

Bimolecular fluorescence complementation in structural biology.

Song YH, Wilmanns M.

Methods 2008


Structure-based approaches to drug discovery against tuberculosis.

Holton SJ, Weiss MS, Tucker PA, Wilmanns M.

Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2007


The Mycobacterium tuberculosis LipB enzyme functions as a cysteine/lysine dyad acyltransferase.

Ma Q, Zhao X, Nasser Eddine A, Geerlof A, Li X, Cronan JE, Kaufmann SH, Wilmanns M.

Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2006

Jun 6;103(23):8662-7

From microscopy to mycology, from development to disease modelling, EMBL researchers cover a wide range of topics in the biological sciences.