Xavier Salvatella: ERC Consolidator Grantee
Xavier Salvatella, from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcellona (Spain), SBE member and awardee of 2013 edition of the SBE-40 Prize, has won a 2014 ERC Consolidator Grant.
The results of the latest ERC Consolidator Grant competition (2014 call) have been announced. Out of 2528 submitted proposals, 372 top researchers have been selected for funding. 32 successful projects will be developed in Spain, one of them will be directed by Xavier Salvatella.
In this call, researchers of 38 different nationalities are amongst the grantees. The highest number of grants goes to German (69 grants) and French (44) scientists, followed by British (37) and Spanish (33).
Born in 1972 in Barcelona, Spain Xavier Salvatella holds degrees in Chemistry from the Universities of Barcelona (Bsc, PhD) and London (MSc). He has been a Research Fellow of the University of Cambridge and has worked with Michele Vendruscolo and Christopher Dobson at the Department of Chemistry , where he has been a from 2003. Dr Salvatella was elected to a Research Fellowship at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge in Oct 2006 and was awarded an ICREA Researcher position that same year, which he took up in July 2008.
His general research interests lie at the interface between Chemistry and Biology and have focussed in the recent past on understanding how the structure and dynamics of biomacromolecules relate to disease. In order to address that, Dr Salvatella is developing methods to study protein structure using sparse experimental data and to simultaneously determine the structure and dynamics of proteins in a wide range of timescales. Most recently Dr Salvatella has established research lines to investigate the interplay between residual structure and sequence in amyloid formation and the mechanism by which molecular chaperones contribute to the regulation of the structure, oligomerization state and concentration of partially folded species in the cell.
The project now funded by ERC, Concert intends to discover connections which determine the dynamics between distant points within the structure of a protein…
This is what we name “concerted conformational movements” (Dr. Salvatella says). They could be described as choreographic movements of ballerinas -atoms in our case-. We want to describe the internal highways within the protein structure used to transmit such movements and use that information to identify sensible binding sites for potential drugs.
The project may have biomedical implications, since it will focus on the androgen receptor which is a target for drugs used to treat prostate cancer. Dr Salvatella’s research will will explore not only the binding site of drugs interacting with this target protein, but also other sites connected to it through the “concerted conformational movements”. For that, he will work on the detailed characterization of internal dynamic highways within the androgen receptor.