We employ an integrative structural biology approach in conjunction with molecular interaction studies and cellular interrogation of the systems under study to elucidate the structural and mechanistic principles underlying the assembly, activation and pathophysiology of macromolecular complexes pivotal to inflammation, immunity, and cancer. The cornerstone of our research philosophy lies in a rigorous hypothesis-driven interrogation of the protein complexes under study, and is closely nested in collaborations with leading academic research groups in Belgium and abroad as well as industrial partners.
We currently focus on 3 main research topics:
- Pro-inflammatory signaling complexes.
- Extracellular assembly and activation principles of oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases.
- Protein engineering and antagonist design.
In particular, our efforts are fueled via experimental work in the spirit of integrative structural biology towards addressing the following:
-The architecture, interaction epitopes, and assembly principles of protein-protein complexes.
-The structural and evolutionary basis of mammalian and viral decoy receptors and their roles in immunomodulation.
-The structural framework and mechanistic impact of somatic mutations identified in a number of the receptors under study.
Structural basis of GM-CSF and IL-2 sequestration by the viral decoy receptor GIFFelix J, Kandiah E, De Munck S, Bloch Y, Van Zundert G, Pauwels K, Dansercoer A, Novanska K, Read R, Bonvin A, Vergauwen B, Verstraete K, Gutsche I, Savvides SNature Communications, 7, 13228, 2016 Structural basis of the proinflammatory signaling complex mediated by TSLPVerstraete K, Van Schie L, Vyncke L, Bloch Y, Tavernier J, Pauwels E, Peelman F, Savvides SNATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 21, 375-82, 2014 Structural basis of IL-23 antagonism by an Alphabody protein scaffoldDesmet J, Verstraete K, Bloch Y, Lorent E, Wen Y, Devreese B, Vandenbroucke K, Loverix S, Hettmann T, Deroo S, Somers K, Henderikx P, Lasters I, Savvides SNature Communications, 5, 5237, 2014 Allosteric competitive inactivation of hematopoietic CSF-1 signaling by the viral decoy receptor BARF1Elegheert J, Bracke N, Pouliot P, Gutsche I, Shkumatov A, Tarbouriech N, Verstraete K, Bekaert A, Burmeister W, Svergun D, Lambrecht B, Vergauwen B, Savvides SNATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 19, 938-47, 2012
04/04/2017 - Scientists at VIB-UGent have managed to unravel the functioning of what is thought to be the ‘master protein’ that drives a range of widespread allergic diseases, such as asthma and eczema.
07/11/2016 - Researchers led by Savvas Savvides (VIB-UGent) gained surprising insights into how viruses use proteins to inactivate the immune systems of their hosts.
PhD: Cornell Univ., New York, USA, 2000
Postdoc: Washington Univ. School of Medicine, Washington, USA, 2000-02
EMBO Postdoc: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, 2002-04
Professor: Ghent Univ., Ghent, Belgium since 2005
VIB Group leader since 2015