Department of Chemistry

Balasubramanian Group

Welcome to the Balasubramanian Group

Balasubramanian Group

We are based in laboratories in the Chemistry Department and also the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CI) at the University of Cambridge. Our research is largely hypothesis driven and employs the principles of chemistry and the molecular sciences to address questions of importance in life sciences and molecular medicine. Our approach naturally leads to the creation of new scientific methods and inventions.

Our research is focused on elucidating the chemistry, structure and function of DNA and RNA.  We aim to address questions of central importance to this field from a multitude of perspectives that comprise chemical, biological and computational approaches. The CI based laboratory is the focus for experiments involving cell and molecular biology, genomics and medicine, which is complemented by the organic chemistry and molecular biophysics expertise in the Department of Chemistry. There are currently two main thematic areas of study in the lab. The first is structures that form in DNA and RNA with an emphasis on G-quadruplexes. The second is chemically modified  bases in DNA.  

While the focus of our group is to carry out basic exploratory research, incidental findings have led to inventions from our laboratory that have been commercialised. These include a method for decoding DNA called Solexa-Illumina sequencing, that is being widely applied in the life sciences and for human genome sequencing. A second example is chemistry for decoding epigenetic and other modified bases in DNA, commercialised via Cambridge Epigenetix.

Find out more about how the research group is working to unlock the mysteries of four-stranded DNA structures in The Gene Genie podcast.