Research focuses on the structure, function and dynamics of biological macromolecules and macromolecular assemblies, with particular emphasis on cellular function of proteins, membranes, protein-nucleic acid complexes. Research projects deal with chromatin remodelling, vesicular transport, membrane fusion, nucleocytoplasmic transport and the nuclear pore complex, the spliceosome and other ribonucleoprotein complexes, and regulatory networks in microorganisms. All these projects share common goals including biochemical reconstitution, as well as biophysical and structural understanding of the processes involved.

In recent years, Göttingen has developed into one of the leading centers of structural biology. Currently there are four groups applying NMR-spectroscopy, five groups using X-ray crystallography, and one applying single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. These approaches are complemented by biophysical methods (fluorescence- and CD spectroscopy, calorimetry, EPR-spectroscopy etc). The analysis of three-dimensional structures also includes theoretical approaches on the structural dynamics of biological macromolecules. Many of these groups are united in an already well advanced initiative for a new DFG Collaborative Reseach Center. Furthermore, the program closely cooperates with the thematically related DFG Research Training Group "Protein-protein interaction during intracellular transport of macromolecules (GRK 521), and it is planned to apply for a new DFG Research Training Group that is thematically centered in this program.