Savvides Unit - Unit for Structural Biology

Research field: Structural biology

Group leader: Prof. Dr. Savvas SAVVIDES

Tel:+32 9 33 13 660  -  Fax:+32 9 221 76 73

Research topic

Our research program in molecular structural biology focuses on the elucidation of structure-function relationships of soluble and membrane-associated proteins and their complexes, with biomedical and biotechnological importance. We employ creative combinations of hybrid approaches involving X-ray crystallography, Small-angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) and Electron Microscopy (EM), in conjunction with molecular interaction studies and cellular interrogation of the systems under study to elucidate the structural and mechanistic principles underlying the assembly, activation and pathophysiology of protein assemblies pivotal in inflammation, autoimmune diseases and cancer. The cornerstone of our research philosophy lies in a rigorous hypothesis-driven interrogation of the protein complexes under study, and is closely nested in collaborations with leading academic research groups in Belgium and abroad as well as industrial partners.

Area of expertise

  • Structural biology
  • Molecular biology and protein biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Structural bioinformatics

Technology transfer potential

  • Recombinant protein production
  • Biochemical and structural characterization of proteins and protein complexes
  • Biophysical characterization of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions


    Selected publications

    1. Desmet et al. Structural basis of IL-23 antagonism by an Alphabody protein scaffold.
      Nature Communications, 5:5237, 2014.
    2. Verstraete et al., Structural basis of the pro-inflammatory signaling complex mediated by TSLP.
      Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, 4: 375-382, 2014.
    3. Verstraete et al.Extracellular assembly and activation of oncogenic class III receptor tyrosine kinases.
      Nature Reviews Cancer, 12: 753-766, 2012.
    4. Verstraete et al., Structural insights into the extracellular assembly of the hematopoietic Flt3 signaling complex.
      Blood 118, 60-68, 2011.

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