Department of Structural and Computational Biology pursues an aspiring research agenda in integrative structural and computational biology

Welcome to the Department of Structural and Computational Biology! Our Department is at the Center of Molecular Biology, which is part of the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), a joint venture between University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna.


From atomistic-level conformational analysis to evolutionary ecology, the research groups in our Department tackle biological questions at different levels of spatial and temporal resolution. Molecular structures and dynamic information obtained by X-ray crystallography, NMR, small angle X-ray scattering and distance-sensitive spectroscopic techniques are extended by a broad blend of biochemical, chemical biology, biophysical and cell biology approaches. Additionally, the first studies employing single-particle electron microscopy and electron tomography combined with correlated light microscopy as well as methodological developments in the field of multipass optical and electron microscopy place us at the very forefront of modern structural biology. These experimental studies are synergistic to computational biology and bioinformatics activities, aimed at integrating the different levels of information to generate comprehensive descriptions of biological function at different spatiotemporal scales. From theoretical and computational analysis of evolutionary history to development and application of biomolecular modeling techniques, these efforts provide a natural, productive complement to the experimental work in the Department.


There is continuous, lively interplay among the groups with expertise in different methodologies, reflecting our belief that understanding the molecular basis of biological function requires integrative structural and computational approaches, which together yield a comprehensive spatial and temporal description of biological processes. Capitalizing on these premises, CD-laboratory for High-Content Structural Biology and Biotechnology established in 2017, is employing a combination of these approaches with the aim to combine the collected information in an information pipeline for both research and biotechnology.


The Department is equipped with state-of-the-art research infrastructure for experimental and computational work.


Experimental facilities include:

  • high-field NMR spectrometers (500, 2x600, 800 MHz)

  • robotics for crystallisation and automated crystal imaging

  • small focus rotating anode and X-ray detector

  • instrumentation for single-molecule light microscopy

  • instrumentation for biophysical characterisation: isothermal calorimetry, circular dichroism, static and dynamic light scattering

  • infrastructure for large-scale growth of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells The computational infrastructure offers:

  • access to substantial computing resources including an in-house cluster with 1700 cores and 350 TB of storage

  • access to the large central resources available through Vienna Scientific Cluster


Finally, the Department hosts two MFPL core facilities: Biooptics – Light Microscopy Facility and Biomolecular NMR Facility. Additionally, several service facilities set up around major technologies are available to our scientists through Vienna Biocenter Facilities (VBCF). These, among others, include electron microscopy, protein-technology, mass-spectrometry, next-generation sequencing and advanced biooptics core facilities.


On the next pages, we would like to present our Department and the work we do in more detail. We hope that our excitement for understanding the complexity of biology from a rigorous, structural and quantitative perspective will be shared by you