María J. Macías

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de 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

- Spengler J, Barker M, Schelhorn C, Garcia J, Macias MJ & Albericio F 2017, 'The synthesis of an EDTA-like chelating peptidomimetic building block suitable for solid-phase peptide synthesis', Chemical Communications, 53, 17, 2634 - 2636.

- Martin-Malpartida P, Batet M, Kaczmarska Z, Freier R, Gomes T, Aragon E, Zou Y, Wang Q, Xi Q, Ruiz L, Vea A, Marquez JA, Massague J, Macias MJ 2017, 'Structural basis for genome wide recognition of 5-bp GC motifs by SMAD transcription factors', Nature Communications, 8, 2070.

Selected research activities

Member of the equality and diversity committee of the IRB Barcelona.

Invited talks at the FMP Berlin (Germany), at the iNEXT users meeting in Brno (Czech Republic) and during the 16th congress of the Spanish Biophysical Society in Sevilla.

Communication at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Lisbon (Portugal).