Xavier Barril

Universitat de Barcelona

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

Xavier Barril's research focuses on the discovery of bioactive molecules through a combined use of computational and experimental techniques. His group also develops new computational tools for drug discovery and strives to improve the fundamental understanding of molecular events involved in pharmacological response. Prof. Barril received his Ph.D. from the Barcelona University (UB) in 2001 for theoretical studies on the molecular recognition processes. He then joined Vernalis (Cambridge, UK), where he was involved in a range of drug discovery projects. In 2005 he was appointed ICREA Research Professor and went back to the UB. Prof. Barril has co-authored 80 scientific publications and 10 patents. In 2011 he co-founded Minoryx Therapeutics to develop allosteric pharmacological chaperones as new treatments for rare diseases. In 2018 this activity was transferred to Gain Therapeutics where Prof. Barril acts as CSO.

Research interests

My main research interest is the discovery of bioactive molecules with novel mechanisms of action. These molecules can then be used as chemical probes to interrogate biological systems and validate new pharmacological targets, or as starting points to develop drug candidates. I aim to expand the so-called druggable genome by targeting untapped biological components, preferably through non-standard mechanisms of action, such as allosteric binding, conformational trapping or stabilisation of protein-protein complexes. To achieve this objective my group employs a multi-disciplinary and question-driven approach that combines computational, biophysical and biological techniques. We are particularly strong in computer-aided drug design and we develop new computational approaches that enable us to tackle such novel and difficult targets with confidence.

Selected publications

– Rachman MM, Barril X & Hubbard RE 2018, ‘Predicting how drug molecules bind to their protein targets‘, Current opinion in pharmacology, vol 42, pp 34-39.

– Defelipe LA, Arcon JP, Modenutti CP, Marti MA, Turjanski AG & Barril X 2018, ‘Solvents to Fragments to Drugs: MD Applications in Drug Design‘, Molecules, vol 23, no. 12, pp 3269.

– Majewski M, Ruiz-Carmona S & Barril X 2018, ‘Dynamic Undocking: A Novel Method for Structure-Based Drug Discovery‘ in Rational Drug Design. Edited by Mavromoustakos T., Kellici T. Series Methods in Molecular Biology, volume 1824.Humana Press, New York, NY. 2018. pp. 195-215

Selected research activities

Inivited talks

– Lecture series on modern drug Discovery, TU Dortmund (Germany), 6 June 2018

– X Meeting of the Spanish Drug Discovery Network. Bilbao (Spain), 22-23 November 2018

– ISQBP President’s Meeting 2018. Barcelona (Spain), 19-21 June 2018

Courses and seminars​

– 10th Summer School on Medicines Medicines: from Target to Market. Ribeirão Preto (Brazil), 16-23 March 2018

– 3rd Course on computational biology for drug discovery. Buenos Aires (Argentina), 14-18 May 2018

MSc thesis director

– M. Miñarro, “A Computational Pipeline for Participation in CELPP”. MSc Bioinformatics (UPF / UB). 15 Jul 2016