The main research area of our group is devoted to single stranded RNA bacteriophages and their virus-like particles (VLPs). In our lab we are extensively studying genomes, structures and molecular interactions of numerous RNA phages. Our work has resulted both in deeper understanding of phage molecular biology and several applications of their VLPs, the most important of which lies in vaccine development.
Since our lab is the only one in Latvia with a capability to determine protein crystal structures, we have several other projects, mostly aimed towards structure-based inhibitor design against various pharmacologically relevant enzymes. Those projects are done on collaboration basis with Institute of Organic Synthesis, performing synthesis of the inhibitory compounds. Our most important targets include carbonic anhydrases and enzymes, involved in carnitine and trimethylamine metabolism.
Our research group has been formed by creating a tandem of two former research groups, led by Dr. Kaspars Tārs and Dr. Andris Kazāks. Kaspars Tārs has the necessary expertise in structural biology, while Andris Kazāks is an expert in protein production and purification.