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The Armenise-Harvard Laboratory of Structural Biology


Referent: Prof. Federico Forneris

Co-worker: Dr. Francesca Magnani

We study the molecular mechanisms of recognition and regulation that underlie biological processes in large extracellular macromolecular complexes using an integrative structural biology approach. Signal transduction pathways represent an accurate, complex and intricate way of transporting messages between neighboring cells. The accurate recognition of soluble, extracellular ligands by complex receptor assemblies determines multiple cellular functions by triggering or inhibiting the expression of specific target genes. It is clear that any malfunction of such a delicate, tightly regulated system would result in the re-programming of many cell functions, often with tremendous, unexpected effects. We study these communication mechanisms by focusing on molecular recognition and regulation processes in bio-medically relevant proteins to characterize their structure-activity-relationships and to exploit such insights for pharmacological target validation and drug discovery.