Welcome to the Scheres lab
We are intrigued by how molecular machines perform their complicated tasks in the living cell. Just like machines invented by humans, molecular machines use movements of separate parts in their functioning. Amazingly, rotations, lever or ratchet movements of protein molecules are used in the nano-scale equivalents of water mills (e.g. ATP synthase), fuel-driven motors (e.g. DNA helicases), or even walking legs (e.g. myosin movement along actin filaments).
Our research focusses on the development of methods that allow visualising these molecular machines in their multitude of different conformations. In particular, we use three-dimensional electron microscopy (3D-EM) to determine the structures of molecular machines. Ultimately, one would aim to determine the structure for every conformational intermediate of a molecular machine in action. Combining these snapshots into a 3D movie could then greatly enhance our understanding of how these machines work.
Please browse through these pages to learn more about our research, and how it contributes to a better understanding of the functioning of molecular machines.