Unit for Structural Biology

Savvides Savvas

Savvides Savvas

Group Leader VIB

Structural biology of immunity, inflammation and cancer

We employ integrative structural biology to study the structure and mechanism of proteins and protein complexes pivotal to immunity, inflammation, and cancer. Over the years our research group has taken a leading role in the elucidation of cytokine-receptor complexes and in the development of protein-based antagonists against complexes of biomedical importance. The cornerstone of our research philosophy lies in a rigorous hypothesis-driven interrogation of the proteins and protein assemblies under study, and is firmly nested in collaborations with leading academic research groups in Belgium and abroad as well as industrial partners. Several of our projects include extensive activities in translational science.

Currently, our research team is actively investigating the following research areas:

• Extracellular and intracellular signaling protein assemblies in immunity, inflammation, cancer.

• Structural and mechanistic principles underlying oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases and their protein ligands.

• Structure-based drug design against protein-protein interactions.

In vivo protein crystals and protein phase transitions in immunity, inflammation, and cancer.


Areas of Expertise

  • Structural biology
  • Molecular biology, Protein biochemistry and biophysics
  • Structural Bioinformatics
  • Structure-function relationships of proteins in physiology and disease

Technology Transfer Potential

  • Structural and biochemical characterization of proteins and protein complexes, including Antibody-antigen complexes
  • Biophysical and biochemical characterization of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions
  • Biologics
  • Structure-based drug design (small molecule, antibody, biologics, non-antibody protein scaffolds)
  • Recombinant protein production (cytokines, cytokine receptors, antibody fragments)

Selected publications

  • Tsirigotaki, A. et al. Mechanism of receptor assembly via the pleiotropic adipokine Leptin. Nat Struct Mol Biol 30, 551-563 (2023). Visit ➚
  • De Munck, S. et al. Structural basis of cytokine-mediated activation of ALK family receptors. Nature 600, 143-147 (2021). Visit ➚
  • Persson, E. K. et al. Protein crystallization promotes type 2 immunity and is reversible by antibody treatment. Science 364 (2019). Visit ➚
  • Verschueren, K. H. G. et al. Structure of ATP citrate lyase and the origin of citrate synthase in the Krebs cycle. Nature 568, 571-575 (2019). Visit ➚
  • Lienart, S. et al. Structural basis of latent TGF-beta1 presentation and activation by GARP on human regulatory T cells. Science 362, 952-956 (2018) Visit ➚