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University of Helsinki Finnish Centre of Exellence in Virus Research

Finnish Centre of Excellence in Virus Research

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Contact information:

Program director:
Dennis Bamford
Viikinkaari 5 (PO Box 56)
Biocenter 2
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

phone +358-(0)9-191 59100
fax +358-(0)9-191 59101


The Finnish Center of Excellence (CoE) in Virus Research was selected as a member of the National Centers of Excellence Program by the Academy of Finland for the years 2006-2011. This follows the successful completion of the first Center of Excellence Program (in Structural Virology, 2000-2005).

The CoE consists of three research groups headed by D. Bamford, J. Bamford  and S. Butcher. The CoE operates in both the University of Helsinki (D.Bamford and S Butcher) and the University of Jyväskylä (J. Bamford).

The principal focus of the CoE is to reveal the structures and functions of model viruses infecting bacterial and archaeal hosts. In most cases these viruses contain a lipid membrane as a constituent of the virion.

The research approach of the CoE is multidisciplinary extending from microbiology, genetics and biochemistry to biophysics and structural biology. The accumulating information, surprisingly, has also taught us about the origins and evolution of viruses.

New avenues of research include nanobioscience and bacterial virus ecology in bacterial infections. The CoE also strongly supports the development of biotechnology applications based on the research carried out.

Research groups:

Research highlights:

Snapshots of the high-resolution structure of the 66 MDa dsDNA virus PRD1 containing an internal membrane.

Abrescia NG et al. (2004). Insights into assembly from structural analysis of bacteriophage PRD1. Nature 432(7013), 68-74. [PubMed]

Bamford DH et al. (2005). What does structure tell us about virus evolution? Curr Opin Struct Biol 15(6), 655-663. [PubMed]

Laurinmaki PA et al. (2005). Membrane proteins modulate the bilayer curvature in the bacterial virus bam35. Structure (Camb) 13(12), 1819-1828. [PubMed]

Lisal J et al. (2005). Functional visualization of viral molecular motor by hydrogen-deuterium exchange reveals transient states. Nat Struct Mol Biol 12(5), 460-466. [PubMed]



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