Welcome to José M. Martín García Group
Devastating diseases directly or indirectly affect everyone, and the root causes of these diseases often lie in how proteins work or fail to work. Proteins are also key player in infectious diseases as they mediate entry of viral and bacterial pathogens into the host cell and also play an important role in the cell defense against the pathogens. The main step for the elucidation of the complex in whole living cells is the understanding of the structure, dynamics and function of proteins that play the key role in these processes. As well, designing drugs to affect the proteins involved in disease without knowledge of their structure is like trying to design a key without any knowledge of the size and shape of the key hole. So that, the detailed knowledge about how drugs interact with their intended protein targets could significantly accelerate the discovery and development of effective therapies.
The research in our group is of a very interdisciplinary nature and includes including X-ray crystallography, protein engineering, biophysics, and bioinformatics tools aiming to provide knowledge of the three-dimensional structure of proteins and analysis of their various interactions and ligand complexes as a prerequisite for an in-depth understanding of any biological process. We use the state-of-the-art technology of serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) at X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) to take snapshots of protein movements to understand how they function. This knowledge will enable us to convert those snapshots into “molecular movies” of how proteins move and interact with their partners to ultimately develop more effective and lower cost treatments.
XFELs are linear accelerators of a few kilometers long that produce a stream of X-ray pulses that are so intense and rapid that they are able to capture the fastest biological processes, offering a unique and exciting opportunity to explore biological mechanisms in areas that were previously thought impossible.
If you want to learn more on what´s behind the XFEL technology watch this beautiful video here created by the SLAC National Laboratory.