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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 165 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

It is difficult to think of a field as unbounded by scientific disciplines as crystallography, and it is impossible to encompass all of its influential developments. Recently, electron diffraction and microscopy as well as accurate modelling are joining X-ray crystallography in the atomic resolution scene and we are addressing the opportunities these new techniques offer and rising to their challenges to develop rational, integrated structural methods implemented in our own software ARCIMBOLDO and in SHELX (Sheldrick). 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 plan to extend fragment-based algorithms into the field of electron diffraction.

Selected publications

– Borges RJ, Salvador GHM, Campanelli H B, Pimenta DC, Neto M de O; Usón I, Fontes MRM. 2021, ‘BthTX-II from Bothrops jararacussu venom …‘, International Journal Of Biological Macromolecules, 191, 255 – 266.

– Assafa TE, Nandi S, Śmiłowicz D, Galazzo L, Teucher M, Elsner C, Pütz S, Bleicken S, Robin AY, Westphal D, Usón I, Stoll R, Czabotar PE, Metzler-Nolte N, Bordignon E 2021, ‘Biophysical characterization of pro-apoptotic BimBH3 peptides…’, Structure, 29, 114-124.e3.

– Salinas N, Tayeb-Fligelman E, Sammito M D, Bloch D, Jelinek R Noy D, Uson I, Landau M 2021, ‘The amphibian antimicrobial peptide uperin 3.5 is a cross-alpha/cross-beta chameleon functional amyloid‘, PNAS, 118, 3, e2014442118.

– Caballero I, Sammito MD, Afonine PV, Usón I, Read RJ, McCoy AJ. 2021, ‘Detection of translational noncrystallographic symmetry in … ‘, Acta Cryst. D77, 131 – 141.

Uson I, Ballard CC, Keegan RM, Read RJ. 2021, ‘Integrated, rational molecular replacement‘, Acta Cryst. D77, 2, 129 – 130.

– Ferrero DS, Busnadiego I, Garriga D, Guerra P, Martin MT, Kremer L, Usón I, Rodriguez JF, Verdaguer N 2021, ‘Structure and Double-Stranded RNA-Binding Activity of the Birnavirus Drosophila X Virus VP3 Protein’, J. Virology, 95, 4, e02166-20.

– Wessel J, Petrillo G; Estevez-Gay M, Bosch S, Seeger M, Dijkman WP, Iglesias-Fernandez J, Hidalgo A, Usón I, Osuna S, Schallmey A 2021, ‘Insights into the molecular determinants of thermal stability in …. ‘, FEBS J. 288, 15, 4683-4701

– Turowski VR, Ruiz DM, Nascimento AFZ, Millan C, Sammito MD, Juanhuix J, Cremonesi AS, Usón I, Giuseppe PO, Murakami MT 2021, ‘Structure of the class XI myosin…‘, Acta Cryst. D77, 522 – 533.

– Schmid JC, Frey K, Scheiner M, Garzon JFG, Stafforst L, Fricke JN Schuppe M, Schiewe H, Zeeck A, Weber T, Usón I, Kemkemer R, Decker M, Grond S 2021, ‘The Structure of Cyclodecatriene Collinolactone…’, Angew Chemie-int Ed Engl,60, 43, 23212-23216.

Selected research activities

Reviewer for ALBA Synchrotron Molecular Biology upgrade

ICREA Memoir 2021