Isabel Usón Finkenzeller

Isabel Usón Finkenzeller

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 the Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC) as ICREA Research Professor. Her work on structural chemistry and biology has led to over 180 publications. The software ARCIMBOLDO, SHELX and VAIRO 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. We are developing VAIRO to inform predictions with experiments and incorporating predictions into rational, 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).

Selected publications

- Agirre J, Atanasova M, Bagdonas H, et al. 2023, 'The CCP4 suite: integrative software for macromolecular crystallography', Acta Crystallographica Section D-structural Biology, 79, 6, 449 - 461.
- Simpkin AJ, Caballero I, McNicholas S, et al. 2023, 'Predicted models and CCP4', Acta Crystallographica Section D-structural Biology, 79, 9, 806 - 819.
- Logan RS, Flores MD, Millan C, et al. 2023, 'Fragment-Based Ab Initio Phasing of Peptidic Nanocrystals by MicroED', Acs Bio & Med Chem Au, 3, 2, 201-210.
- Gubensäk N, Sagmeister T, Buhlheller C, Di Geronimo B, Wagner GE, Petrowitsch L, Gräwert MA, Rotzinger M, Berger TMI, Schäfer J, Usón I, Reidl J, Sánchez-Murcia PA, Zangger K & Pavkov-Keller T 2023, 'Vibrio cholerae's ToxRS bile sensing system', Elife, 12.

- Borges RJ, Cardoso FF, de Carvalho C, et al. 2023, 'Structural and functional studies of a snake venom phospholipase A2-like protein complexed to an inhibitor purified from Tabernaemontana catharinensis'. Biochimie, 206, 105 - 115.

- Brehm W, Triviño J, Krahn JM, Usón I & Diederichs K, 2023, 'XDSGUI: a graphical user interface for XDS, SHELX and ARCIMBOLDO', J. Appl. Cryst, 56, 1585-1594.