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Gustavo Arruda Bezerra

Team Leader for Protein Crystallography

Team Leader - Protein Crystallography group - Centre for Medicines Discovery

I am a team leader at the Protein Crystallography SRF (headed by Professor Frank von Delft), at the Centre for Medicines Discovery (https://www.cmd.ox.ac.uk). We employ cutting-edge biophysical methods combined with chemical biology to develop new therapeutic approaches, mainly exploring small molecules targeting enzymes. Specifically, I am interested in developing antimicrobials and antivirals, having done extensive work on enzymes from Porphyromonas gingivalis, the human oral microbiome's primary bacterium. I also study human metabolic enzymes and their involvement in common and rare diseases. I am particularly interested in exploring the potential of fragments for structure-based drug design, employing the XChem facility at the Diamond Light Source (DLS) to identify chemical matters for several human and bacterial drug targets (https://www.thesgc.org/tep). At the Protein Crystallography group, we work closely with DLS and Rosalind Franklin Institute, developing computational infrastructures that allow rapid structure-activity relationships (SAR) from large-scale multi-step reactions on low-cost robotics (OpenTrons). Subsequently, we employ Artificial Intelligence methods to combine hit-based compound design with retrosynthetic triage efficiently. I currently lead a team of researchers in drug development programs in partnership with prominent biopharmaceutical companies. In this context, I hold two Lab282 awards (https://www.lab282.org) to develop small molecules aiming at antibiotics development and treatment for a rare disease.

I coordinate crystallography-based fragment screens for the recently approved IMI-funded EUbOPEN chemogenomics project, a €53m 22-partner initiative. This consortium aims to generate the most extensive freely available set of high-quality chemical inhibitors for one-third of the druggable human genome.