The aim of the research conducted at The Babraham Institute is to discover the molecular mechanisms that underlie normal cellular processes and functions, and how their failure or abnormality may lead to disease. The institute has the status of a postgraduate department within the University of Cambridge and trains PhD students who are registered with the University’s Faculty of Biology. The research laboratories of the institute are grouped into four programmes:
Signalling (headed by Len Stephens): focuses on proteins that play a critical role in controlling communication between and within cells. These proteins make up the signalling pathways that organise how cells and organs develop and react to their environment.
Lymphocyte Signalling and Development (headed by Martin Turner): investigates signal transduction pathways that regulate the survival and activation of lymphocytes.
Epigenetics (headed by Wolf Reik): studies how epigenetic information is introduced into the genome during early development of an organism, which can in part depend on environmental or nutritional factors acting through cell signalling pathways.
Nuclear Dynamics (headed by Peter Fraser): carries out basic research to create an integrated understanding of control of genome function by its structure and dynamic.
Research breakthroughs made at the Babraham Institute include the discovery of liposomes by Alec Bangham, the role of Inositol trisphosphate in the release of Calcium from intracellular stores by Michael Berridge, the discovery that genomic imprinting was carried by DNA methylation by Wolf Reik.