The Centre for Research on Biomolecular Interactions brings together a group of researchers with a wide range of technical expertise from the Biology and Chemistry departments of the Faculty of Science at York University, whose common research interests lie with understanding the means and the effects of biomolecular interactions.

The members of CRBI share a common goal to further the understanding of:

  • The mechanistic details of how biomolecules interact with one another
  • The relationship between biomolecular interactions and cellular processes
  • The means through which such knowledge can be used in diagnostics and in treatment of diseases

Many of the key processes in both health and disease are examples of biomolecular interactions. At the CRBI, we study how biomolecules interact under normal circumstances, and during the times of dysfunction. While our goal is not the direct development of new drugs or behavioural interventions to treat or prevent disease, we are focused on understanding the cellular events that lead to the development of disorders. Our work results in a deeper comprehension of various biological processes, and thus lays the foundation for the transfer of such knowledge to the industry.

Currently, CRBI is focused on studies of Nucleic Acid interactions with other molecules and their supra-molecular partners (viruses, bacteria, cells). CRBI is dedicated to the development of novel technologies to study Nucleic Acid interactions and the use of such technologies for fundamental and applied research. Currently, methods for aptamer-facilitated diagnostics and therapeutics are pursued. Undertaken fundamental research is concerned with the role of Nucleic Acid interactions in gene expression, DNA replication, and DNA damage control.

As an organized research unit, the role of CRBI is to enhance research productivity, promote dissemination and integration of the acquired knowledge and to reinforce the teaching programme at York University.

Benefits to Research Productivity

An organized effort of a multidisciplinary team of researchers allows for a holistic view of a given scientific problem. The members of CRBI examine the effects and the nature of biomolecular interactions at every level, from pure molecules, to single cells, to entire organisms.

In addition to providing a forum for closer collaboration amongst faculty members, the presence of an organized research unit also facilitates the sharing of research tools and equipment, co-supervision of graduate students and the sharing of research associates. Sharing individuals with particular skills and expertise across members of the group, will allow for a broad dissemination of such skills and expertise. More importantly, the expression of unique perspectives of individuals within the Centre will facilitate the generation of new ideas and solutions to scientific problems.

Dissemination and Integration of the Acquired Knowledge

The Center for Research on Biomolecular Interactions is dedicated to dissemination of the acquired knowledge within the scientific community. In addition to the steady stream of publications produced by its members in renowned scientific journals, CBRI regularly hosts seminars and guest lecturers to insure a flow of new information in and out of the Centre. The future plans of the Centre also include the establishment of a new peer-reviewed journal, dedicated to the topic of Biomolecular Interactions.

The fundamental nature of the research undertaken at the CRBI makes it complementary to the work conducted in the pharmaceutical industry. The Centre aims at developing close collaborations with the industry to apply and integrate the results of the conducted basic research to the development of diagnostics and therapeutics. The collaborative network is built upon the existing relationships of the CRBI members, and include such companies as MDS Sciex, Sanofi-Pasteur, Immunotech, and others. CRBI welcomes new opportunities to collaborate with the members of the pharmaceutical industry.

Reinforcement of the teaching programme at York University

Collectively, the members of CRBI supervise more than 60 trainees, a half of whom are graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Affiliation with the Centre provides an invaluable experience for all our students, whether undergraduate or graduate. The available opportunities of being exposed to areas of research other than their own focus, direct interaction with their peers and senior researchers, and the ability to learn the variety of techniques available at the member laboratories, give students a much broader experience than they could get if their training was limited to a single laboratory.