Savvas Savvides Lab

Research focus

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 areas:

Pro-inflammatory signaling complexes and antagonist design.
Extracellular assembly and activation principles of oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases.
In vivo protein crystals in immunity, inflammation, and cancer



Structure of ATP citrate lyase and the origin of citrate synthase in the Krebs cycleVerschueren Koen Blanchet C Felix J Dansercoer Ann De Vos D Bloch Yehudi Van Beeumen J Svergun D Gutsche I Savvides Savvas Verstraete KennethNATURE, 568, 571-575, 2019
Protein crystallization promotes type 2 immunity and is reversible by antibody treatment.Persson Emma* Verstraete Kenneth* Heyndrickx Ines* Gevaert Elien Aegerter Helena Percier Jean-Michel Deswarte Kim Verschueren Koen H Dansercoer Ann Gras Delphine Chanez Pascal Bachert Claus Gonçalves Amanda Van Gorp Hanne De Haard Hans Blanchetot Christophe Saunders Michael Hammad Hamida Savvides Savvas@ Lambrecht Bart@SCIENCE, 364, eaaw4295, 2019* or °: authors contributed equally@: corresponding authors
Structural basis of latent TGF-beta1 presentation and activation by GARP on human regulatory T cellsLiénart S* Merceron R* Vanderaa C Lambert F Colau D Stockis J Van Der Woning B De Haard H Saunders M Coulie P Savvides S* Lucas S*SCIENCE, 362, 952-956, 2018* or °: authors contributed equally
Structural Activation of Pro-inflammatory Human Cytokine IL-23 by Cognate IL-23 Receptor Enables Recruitment of the Shared Receptor IL-12Rbeta1Bloch Yehudi Bouchareychas L Merceron Romain Skladanowska Katarzyna Van Den Bossche L Detry Sammy Govindarajan Srinath Elewaut Dirk Haerynck F Dullaers M Adamopoulos I. E Savvides SavvasIMMUNITY, 48, 45-58 e6, 2018
Structure and antagonism of the receptor complex mediated by human TSLP in allergy and asthmaVerstraete Kenneth Peelman Frank Braun Harald Lopez J Van Rompaey D Dansercoer Ann Vandenberghe I Pauwels Kris Tavernier Jan Lambrecht Bart Hammad Hamida De Winter H Beyaert Rudi Lippens G Savvides SavvasNature Communications, 8, 14937, 2017

Job openings


Scientists (dis)solve a century-long mystery to treat asthma and airway inflammation

23/05/2019 - Belgian research groups from the VIB, Ghent University, Ghent University Hospital, and the biotech company argenx have solved a century-long puzzle about the presence of protein crystals in asthma.

Structure of the molecular machine that links carbohydrate and lipid metabolism

03/04/2019 - A research team in the Unit for Structural Biology at the VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research has unraveled the three-dimensional structure and molecular mechanism of ATP citrate lyase (ACLY).

VIB, CD3 and Beactica announce drug discovery alliance targeting inflammatory diseases

26/02/2019 - VIB, KU Leuven’s Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) and Beactica AB are proud to announce a new partnership. The three parties will be working together in a drug discovery project to address critical unmet needs in the area of inflammation.

Belgian researchers discover a novel method to block immunosuppression in cancer

25/10/2018 - Belgian research groups from the UCLouvain and WELBIO, VIB and Ghent University, and the biotechnology company argenx elucidated the three-dimensional structure of an assembly of proteins operating on cells that dampen immune responses.

Scientists shed light on a key molecular mechanism of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases

17/01/2018 - A team of researchers led by prof. Savvas Savvides (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) has unraveled a crucial aspect of the molecular basis of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

Scientists expose protein responsible for allergic diseases

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.

Researchers unravel viruses’ strategies to dodge immune systems

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.

Savvas Savvides

Savvas Savvides

Research area(s)


PhD: Cornell Univ., Ithaca-NY, USA, 2000
Postdoc: Washington Univ. School of Medicine, St. Louis-MO, USA, 2000-02
EMBO Postdoc: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, 2002-04
Professor: Ghent Univ., Ghent, Belgium, since 2005
VIB Group leader since 2015​

Contact Info

VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation ResearchUGent-VIB Research Building FSVMTechnologiepark 71 9052 GENTRoute description