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



Structural Activation of Pro-inflammatory Human Cytokine IL-23 by Cognate IL-23 Receptor Enables Recruitment of the Shared Receptor IL-12Rbeta1Bloch Y, Bouchareychas L, Merceron R, Skladanowska K, Van Den Bossche L, Detry S, Govindarajan S, Elewaut D, Haerynck F, Dullaers M, Adamopoulos I, Savvides SIMMUNITY, 48, 45-58 e6, 2018
Mechanisms of immunomodulation by mammalian and viral decoy receptors: insights from structuresFelix J* Savvides S*NATURE REVIEWS IMMUNOLOGY, 17, 112-129, 2017* These authors contributed equally
Structure and antagonism of the receptor complex mediated by human TSLP in allergy and asthmaVerstraete K, Peelman F, Braun H, Lopez J, Van Rompaey D, Dansercoer A, Vandenberghe I, Pauwels K, Tavernier J, Lambrecht B, Hammad H, De Winter H, Beyaert R, Lippens G, Savvides SNature Communications, 8, 14937, 2017
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 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

Job openings


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