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Gerhard Gröbner Lab

Research group Our group uses NMR methods to understand the function of biological membranes and their proteins and their role in various diseases.

More or less every biological process continues via membranes and their constituents. However, understanding the function of these biological membranes – everything from the basic properties of their lipid matrix to the complex activity of the proteins – is one of the most challenging tasks in bioscience.

Our group uses an interdisciplinary approach involving biophysical, biochemical and structural biological techniques centred on NMR spectroscopy and neutron reflection to break down the molecular principles and determinants that govern mitochondrial membrane function.

Cancer research

Specifically, we study important aspects of the interaction between membranes and the Bcl-2 protein family to regulate programmed cell death (apoptosis). In the long run, our goal is to shed fundamentally new light on the molecular mechanism by which cell-protecting Bcl-2 proteins function in a membrane environment and open up new avenues for innovative cancer drugs against these proteins.

Infection biology research

Within the field of infection, together with Thomas Borén and Anna Arnqvist, we are investigating lipid-based bacterial membranes and proteins on Helicobacter pylori which causes chronic gastric flu and stomach ulcers. In addition, together with Sun Nyunt Wai, we are studying how microbes such as Vibrio cholerae use lipid membranes and specific proteins to infect host cells and cause various infectious diseases.

Head of research


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Chemistry

Research area

Cancer, Chemical sciences, Infection biology
The Swedish Research Council funds projects on neutron research

Professor Gerhard Gröbner and colleagues receive just over seven million for a chemistry project.

Breakthrough in the understanding of a protein with a key role in cancer

The neutron reflexometry method gives scientists atomic-level insight into the behaviour of the protein Bcl-2.