The Center for Structural Biology (CBS) is a CNRS (UMR 5048) –INSERM (U 1054) -University of Montpellier joint research unit with a fundamental and multidisciplinary vocation. The general objective of CBS is to conduct cutting-edge research in structural biology, biophysics and bioengineering in order to describe and understand the physico-chemical mechanisms underlying biological processes, from the molecular and cellular level to supramolecular assemblies in the context of living organisms. This knowledge is used to develop new tools for research or to design new diagnostic or therapeutic strategies with applications in human health.
CBS was created in 1992 on the initiative of both CNRS and the University of Montpellier, then INSERM, in a context of strengthening structural biology in France. Originally located at the Faculty of Pharmacy, the CBS is now hosted by INSERM on the site of the Arnaud-de-Villeneuve university hospital campus.
Originally specialized in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), X-ray crystallography and bioinformatics, CBS has extended its skills to a wide range of methodologies including atomic force microscopy (AFM), cryo-electron microscopy (EM), high resolution quantitative fluorescence imaging, nanomanipulation of unique molecules and bioengineering. Most of the methodologies used and developed at CBS are accessible to the academic and industrial scientific community via the Integrated Biophysics and Structural Biology Platform (PIBBS) which is part of the UMS Biocampus Montpellier and affiliated to 3 national infrastructures (FBI, FRISBI and ChemBio France).
The CBS currently hosts around a hundred people (researchers, assistant professors and professors, engineers, post-docs and PhD students) divided into 12 teams organized into two departments: the Department of Structural Biology and the Department of Biophysics and Bio-Engineering. The diversity of techniques and expertise present on the same site, as well as the solid network of local, national and international collaborations, allow the CBS to carry out increasingly ambitious scientific projects by integrated and multi-scale approaches which cross the barriers between biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.