María J. Macías

María J. Macías

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica

Life & Medical Sciences

Since 2002 at the IRB Barcelona working in the Mechanisms of Disease 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 complexes involved in splicing, transcription and signaling. Protein folding and stability. Relapse prediction of endometrial cancers using artificial intelligence.

Research interests

Our research aims at 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. 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 TGFb pathway first for activation and then for degradation. Using NMR and X-ray crystallography we are currently characterizing the interactions of Smads 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. We also aim to determine the probability of relapse and metastasis of gynecological cancer patients combining information from data obtained from biopsis and genomic data deposited in databases.

Selected publications

- Pluta R, Aragón E, Prescott NA, et al. 2022, 'Molecular basis for DNA recognition by the maternal pioneer transcription factor FoxH1', Nature Communications, 13, 1, 7279.

- Martin-Malpartida P, Hausvik E, Underhaug J, Torner C, Martinez A & Macias MJ 2022, 'HTSDSF Explorer, A Novel Tool to Analyze High-throughput DSF Screenings', Journal Of Molecular Biology, 434, 11, 167372.

- Learte-Aymamí S, Martin-Malpartida P, Roldán-Martín L, et al. 2022, 'Controlling oncogenic KRAS signaling pathways with a Palladium-responsive peptide', Communications Chemistry, 5, 1, 75.

Selected research activities

3 PhD currently surpervised, 1 PhD Thesis defended in 2022