Monika Oberer's team aims to understand the function of proteins on the molecular level. Knowledge of the three-dimensional structures of proteins is an essential prerequisite for achieving this aim. The results of our research are always seen in the biological context, since proteins do not function as isolated molecules.
As metabolism research is very pronounced within the universities of Graz, the research topics are closely interwoven with metabolism and its regulation. A special focus is set on intracellular and intravascular lipid metabolism. Lipids and fatty acids are essential to the cells to produce energy; furthermore, lipids and their metabolic products are vital building blocks for the synthesis of new molecules or for signal transduction.
Dysregulation of these metabolic processes lead to disease patterns, including type 2 diabetes, fatty liver up and cancer. We also investigate metabolic aspects of pathogenic bacteria, whose interaction with human hosts is essential in the infection process. We attempt to develop inhibitors of the involved metabolic enzymes with the final goal of novel treatment options.
In our laboratory, we determine protein structures using X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. In addition, we employ further biochemical and biophysical methods to characterize the proteins and the corresponding interactions.
Our research is carried out in an interdisciplinary, international team within the frameworks of the priority research program SFB-Lipid Hydrolysis, the PhD training program doc.fund Molecular Metabolism, doc.fund BioMolStruct, the Field of Excellence BioHealth, NAWI Graz and BioTechMed Graz.