Isabel Usón

Isabel Usón

Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona

Life & Medical Sciences

Isabel Usón Finkenzeller completed a Chemistry degree (1987) and Ph. D. (1992) in synthetic organometallic chemistry at the U. of Zaragoza. In November 1992, she joined Procter & Gamble as Product Research Scientist in Brussels, gaining insight into the science and management of industrial chemistry. She moved as HCM postdoc to the U. of Göttingen in 1994. She has developed methods for crystallography for 23 years, first within the group of Prof. Sheldrick FRS, author of SHELX, during her postdoctoral research and Habilitation (1994-2001) and as of July 2001 leading an emergent group. September 2003, she moved to Barcelona as ICREA Research Professor. Her work on structural chemistry and biology has led to over 175 publications. The software ARCIMBOLDO and SHELX are the central output of her work. She is Life Member of Clare Hall College (U. Cambridge).

Research interests

Structural biology provides eyes to the life sciences. This field, traditionally dominated by crystallography, has been enriched by atomic resolution microscopy and accurate structure predictions using deep learning to relate knowledge. New challenges can be conquered harnessing further sources of information to experiments and predictions in the development ofrational, integrated structural methods implemented in our own software ARCIMBOLDO and in SHELX. Our methods exploit the stereochemical knowledge present in small, local folds to determine and interpret structure within chemical, biomedical and biotechnological research. To extricate experimental information from model bias and data pathologies we propose a change of the validation paradigm (average stereochemistry) into verification (outperform alternative hypotheses) and are extending fragment-based algorithms into the field of electron diffraction.

Selected publications

- Medina A, Jiménez E et al. 2022, 'Verification: model-free phasing with enhanced predicted models in ARCIMBOLDO_SHREDDER', Acta Crystallographica Section D-structural Biology, 78, 11, 1283 - 1293.

- Uson I 2022, 'Making ripples in the comparison of calculated and experimental maps for real-space refinement and assessment by analytic modelling of local resolution', Iucrj, 9, 6, 718 - 719.

- Borges RJ, Salvador GHM, Pimenta DC, Dos Santos LD, Fontes MRM & Usón I 2022, 'SEQUENCE SLIDER: integration of structural and genetic data to characterize isoforms from natural sources', Nucleic Acids Res, 50 e50.

- Schmitz C, Madej M et al. 2022, 'Response regulator PorX coordinates oligonucleotide signalling and gene expression to control the secretion of virulence factors', Nucleic Acids Research, 50(21):12558-12577.

- Krissinel E, Lebedev AA et al. 2022, 'CCP4 Cloud for structure determination and project management in macromolecular crystallographyActa Crystallographica Section D-Structural Biology, 78(Pt 9):1079-1089.

Selected research activities

Release of ARCIMBOLDO experimental structure determination exploiting predicted models.