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Gianfranco Gilardi Tutorial

October 15, 2014, 16:45 – 18:30
Protein Engineering and Drug Design Based on 3D Protein Models
Gianfranco Gilardi,
University of Torino, Italy

Gianfranco Gilardi is a Biologist as traning. He got a Ph.D. in Biotechnology and the Diploma of Imperial College, at the Imperial College London in 1991. After various successfull post-doc and lecturship experiences at the Leiden University and at the Imperial College London, he is Full Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Torino since 2001, where he presently is Head of the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology. His present teaching duties include both the Biochemistry and the Protein Engineering and Drug Design courses.
Beside being Editor-in-Chief of the American journal Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry, Wiley, and Editor of the Inorganic Chemistry board of The Scientific World Journal, hs is Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and Member of various scientific societies, including the American Chemical Society, the Biochemical Society, UK, The Institute of Biology (MIBiol) and Chartered Biologist (CBiol) UK, and the Italian Biochemical Society.

Head of an international research group in Protein Engineering applied to biosensing supported by first class technical facilities, he has raised in excess of 3 million € and 4.5 million £ over the last 15 years in research funds. His research is focused on redox systems with particular reference to electron transfer proteins and monooxygenase enzymes. Current projects range from engineering human aromatase for structural-functional studies of sex hormones metabolism to engineering versatile artificial four helix bundles for bioelectronic devices, functional studies of hydrogenase for the construction of an artificial leaf for alternative energy sources. Particular emphasis has been given over the last 5 years to cytochrome P450 enzymes and their applications in the environmental and drug development fields. The pharmaceutical aspects of this work were patented and captured in the Imperial College spin off company NanoBioDesign, of which he was the sole scientific founder.
Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and Member of the American Chemical Society, author of 78 refereed papers, 11 chapters in edited books, 11 patents, invited speaker to 42 international congresses, workshops and seminar series, organiser and chairman to 8 international meetings. Referee to the UK BBSRC Committees Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Biomolecular Sciences, Engineering Biological Systems, UK EPSRC – Interface chemistry-biology, The Netherlands NWO – Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, The EU from FP3 to present FP7, The Human Frontier Science Programme, The European Research Council, The Italian Research Council (CNR Biotechnology, The Italian Space Agency and the San Paolo Foundation granting bodies and to the international journals Journal of the American Chemical Society, Analytical Chemistry, Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie, Biophysical Journal, Biochemistry, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, scientific consultant to Pfizer Sandwich (Kent) and NanoBioDesign Ltd (London), Scientific founder of Imperial College spin off NanoBioDesign Ltd (London), Chief Scientific Officer till 2010 to NanoBioDesign Ltd (London).

This tutorial will describe in practice the process carried out in pharmaceutical companies in the initial steps of drug design. As the knowledge of the 3D protein structure is key for the structure-guided drug design, the atomic-resolution models of proteins of interest can be constructued by comparison of their amino acid sequences with that of a related homologous protein with an already resolved 3D structure available in the Protein Data Bank (homology modelling).
During the tutorial, a 3D model of a pharmacologically important protein target will be constructued by homology modelling. The quality of the resulting model in terms of geometry and energetics will be assessed by different bioinformatics tools available online. Molecular docking with a drug will then be performed and the docking poses analysed using the software UCSF Chimera. The prediction of the interaction between a protein and a substrate/inhibitor will also be explored as it has many applications in different biotechnological fields such as the design of new biocatalysis (enzymes) by protein engineering.

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