Chemical biology is a rising inter-disciplinary subject which aims to explore the molecular essence of life. Much of this exploration involves chemistry, and in particular, the use of small-molecule regulators to discover the function of biological macro-molecules. As opposed to more commonly used genetic methods, chemical biology provides a method for post-genomic research and for the identification of specific protein function. In addition to identifying specific targets involved in physical or pathological processes, chemical biology can be used to develop active substances in order to regulate these processes more efficiently. These abilities represent an important research tool for medical and life sciences by accelerating the drug development pipeline. Chemical biology methods have been widely applied in various areas including cellular apoptosis, differentiation, cell cycle regulation, and growth factor signal transduction, forming a solid foundation for the successful development of many drugs and diagnostic reagents applicable in the clinic.
Facing an extremely fierce global competition in the field of innovative drug development, China has established the research and development of new therapeutic drugs as a primary goal in order to meet urgent preventive and clinical treatment needs. To carry out top-level drug development in our country, the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health (GIBH) established the Institute of Chemical Biology in November 2008, with Dr. Ding Ke being Deputy Director.
The Institute of Chemical Biology is mainly focused on health-threatening diseases and disorders, including cancer, diabetes mellitus, infectious diseases, pathogenesis, and pathogenic genes. Through collaborations between different research labs, newly designed small molecules, polypeptides, and oligonucleotide compounds have been discovered and applied in the treatment of these diseases. The Institute of Chemical Biology is composed of four research labs (anti-cancer drugs lab, anti-metabolic disease drugs lab, anti-viral drugs lab, and stem cell chemical biology lab) and several public technical platforms (structural biology and computer-aid drug design).
Targeting health-threatening diseases including cancer, diabetes mellitus, infectious diseases, and other diseases with relatively high epidemic rates in South China, the Institute of Chemical Biology is dedicating itself to research and development of drugs with significant therapeutic effects and traditional Chinese herbal medications and is determined to become one of the most powerful national platforms for research and development of new drugs with a capacity to innovate and significant international recognition. At the same time, regional and national pharmaceutical-related industries will be accelerated by our effort and influence.
Our primary interests include pharmaceutical chemistry, natural drug chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, structural biology, stem cell chemical biology, biological informatics, and pharmacokinetics, and more. The institute is oriented at pathogenic mechanisms, new drug design of cancer and metabolic diseases, extensive development of natural drug chemistry along with traditional Chinese herbal products, chemical biology of stem cells, and disease prevention and treatment.