The research centre being built in Copenhagen will offer the computing power needed to resolve complex protein interactions. Credit: H. JEONG, UNIV. NOTRE DAME/SPL
Kudos to the Novo Nordisk Foundation (“The objective of the Foundation is to provide a stable basis for the commercial and research activities of Novo Nordisk and support scientific, humanitarian and social purposes.”) for the biggest donation to research ever in Denmark: 600 million kroner (US$110 million) to fund a protein research project at the University of Copenhagen.
A core component of the new centre will be a high-throughput facility to express and purify proteins, determine their structure and investigate their properties. The centre will focus on human disease, and will seek to formulate proteins for preclinical tests if they look promising as therapeutics. The university will keep the project’s intellectual property, says vice-dean Birgitte Nauntofte.
They shouldn’t be out of work soon:
genes can code for more than one protein, and the products described in genes can be modified after being translated into protein. This means that although the human genome contains some 25,000 protein-encoding genes, a given person’s various cells might use up to a million different proteins to do different things at different times in the course of a life. To crank up the complexity further, the proteins work in coordinated teams, requiring their relevant members to be in the right place at the right time if they are to generate the right response.