María J. Macías

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (IRB Barcelona)

Life & Medical Sciences

Since 2002 at the IRB Barcelona working in the Structural and Computational Biology Programme as GL of the Structural Characterization of Macromolecular Assemblies group.

Past positions:

1998- 2002, Staff Scientist at the EMBL (Structural Biology) Heidelberg, Germany

1993-1998 Post Doctoral position at the EMBL (Structural Biology) Heidelberg, Germany in the group of Prof. Dr. H. Oschkinat

1993-PhD Degree: PhD in Organic Chemistry, Salamanca University (Spain), supervised by Prof. M. Grande

Research Fields: Structural Biology, NMR, X-ray crystallography, Computational Biology, Signaling

Current Research:

  • Structural determination of protein domains and complexes involved in splicing, transcription and signaling
  • Protein folding and stability
  • Analysis of tumor mutations


Research interests


Our research interest is focused on deciphering the mechanisms that correlate cell signaling with gene expression using high resolution structural biology. We also aim at discovering how these mechanisms are regulated, and their consequent implications in human diseases from the structural point of view. Recently our work has been focused on the family of transcription factors Smads, where we have discovered a mechanism that labels these key components of the TGF-beta pathway first for activation and then for degradation.

Using NMR and X-ray crystallography we are currently characterizing the interactions of Smad proteins and cofactors with DNA promoters, to provide a first understanding of how these molecular machines work and to pave the basis for the design of small molecular inhibitors specifically targeted towards tumor-derived SMAD forms.


Selected publications

– Martin-Gago P, Rol A, Todorovski T, Aragon E, Martin-Malpartida P, Verdaguer X, Valles Miret M, Fernandez-Carneado , Ponsati B, Macias MJ & Riera A 2016, ‘Peptide aromatic interactions modulated by fluorinated residues: Synthesis, structure and biological activity of Somatostatin analogs containing 3-(3 ‘, 5 ‘ difluorophenyl)-alanine’, Scientific Reports, 6, 27285.

– Wright RHG, Lioutas A, Le Dily F, Soronellas D, Pohl A, Bonet J, Nacht AS, Samino Sara Font-Mateu J, Vicent GP, Wierer M, Trabado MA, Schelhorn C, Carolis C, Macias MJ, Yanes O, Oliva B & Beato M 2016, ‘ADP-ribose-derived nuclear ATP synthesis by NUDIX5 is required for chromatin remodeling’, Science, 352, 6290, 1221 – 1225.

Selected research activities

Conferences and workshops:

Co-organizer of the Barcelona BioMed Conference held in November 2016 ‘From genomes to structures: looking at big data with an atomic perspective’.

PhD and Master Thesis:

Master Thesis. Angela Vea Bárdenas. ‘Stability and DNA binding analysis of tumor mutations present in Smad4’, (September 2016, Universidad de Barcelona)

PhD Thesis. David Suñol Moreno. ‘Structural studies of recombinant TGIF1 and FBP28 WW domains using NMR and peptide ligation stategies’, (December 2016, Universidad de Barcelona)