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Professor Francesco Gervasio

Chair of Biomolecular Modeling

Professor Francesco Gervasio

Address: Room 344, Kathleen Lonsdale Building, Department of Chemistry, U.C.L
Phone No: +44 (0)20 7679 3215
Extension: 33215
Professor Francessco Gervasio

Research areas of interest include:

  • Protein Folding.
  • Biomolecular Systems.
  • Proteins.
  • Ab Initio M.D.
  • Metadynamics.
  • Molecular dynamics.
  • Protein NMR.
  • Binding kinetics.
  • Binding thermodynamics
  • Drug design.

We actively develop methods to sample rare events in bio-molecular systems. We contributed to the development of: Metadynamics, Multiple Walkers, Parallel Tempering Metadynamics and Metadynamics-Transition Interface Sampling. We apply these methods to study large-scale conformational transitions in proteins and DNA, ligand binding, protein folding and ion translocation through membrane proteins. We complement the computational modeling with advanced protein NMR techniques, biophysical experiments and mutagenesis.

Research Group

  • Dr Ludovico Sutto
  • Dr Kristen Marino
  • Dr Giorgio Saladino
  • Dr Nicola D’Amelio

 Full list of Professor Gervasio publications here

Francesco L. Gervasio G. has joined the Chemistry Department and the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology as Chair of Bio-molecular Modeling in February 2013. He obtained his PhD in 2001 at the University of Firenze, Italy. He continued his research at ETH Zurich in the group of Prof. Michele Parrinello first as a post-doctoral research assistant and from 2006 as senior PDRA (ober-assistant), developing methods to sample rare events in complex bio-molecular systems. In 2009 he was appointed group leader at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), where he combined computational and experimental methods to study the effect of oncogenic mutations on kinase proteins and to design allosteric kinase inhibitors.

His research interests include large-scale conformational changes in bio-molecular systems, allosteric regulation of proteins, molecular recognition and drug discovery. He contributed to the development of the widely used Metadynamics and PT-metaD free energy algorithms. Recent research highlights include the elucidation of the mode of action of SSR128129E (SSR), the first allosteric inhibitor of Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR). The research performed with SANOFI and other academic partners has important implications in anti-angiogenic cancer therapy [Cancer Cell, 23, 489-501, 2013].

Future work of his group at UCL will explore the effect of oncogenic mutations on the conformational landscape of signalling proteins, the development of computational methods to model the binding kinetics of small ligands and the combination of protein NMR a free energy calculations to understand the allosteric regulation of proteins.