Dr Dario De Vecchis

Dr Dario De Vecchis

Profile

My research involved molecular modelling and large-scale simulations of significant biomolecules mixtures. I obtained a MSc Hons in Bioinformatics from the University of Rome (Italy) where I developed a strong interest in computational methodologies to investigate biological questions. I then moved to Paris (France) in the Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology where I completed my PhD in molecular modelling from the Paris Diderot University under the supervision of Dr Antoine Taly.

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the research groups of Dr Antreas Kalli at the School of Medicine. My research applies molecular modelling and extensive multi-scale dynamics simulations (i.e. all-atom and coarse-grained) to investigate structure-function relationship that characterise biological macromolecules. In particular, membrane proteins that undergo conformational rearrangements and how lipid environment and cofactors affect their function. I am specialised in molecular modelling of biomolecules which represents a valuable tool to provide complementing information to experimental approaches, especially for membrane proteins. Nowadays computational resources make possible to investigate hypotheses using actual and concrete approaches that can finally help to interpret possible future directions and perspectives. During my research work I gained practical experience by collaborating with experimentalists and create integrative methodologies to validate models.

Research interests

I use computational methodologies to better understand how proteins behave in their native environment. In particular which are the relationship between structure and function. I am specialised in molecular modelling of biomolecules which represents a valuable tool to provide complementing information to experimental approaches, especially for membrane proteins.

Nowadays computational resources make possible to investigate hypotheses using actual and concrete approaches that can finally help to interpret possible future directions and perspectives. During my research work I gained practical experience by collaborating with experimentalists and create integrative methodologies to validate models.

I use molecular dynamics simulation and molecular modelling to investigate the following subjects:

  • Red blood cell protein membrane organisation, in particular we aim at characterising the structure of the membrane protein transporter Band 3. This protein is critical for maintaining the architecture of the red cell membrane and its mutation is connected to human pathologies such as anaemias and other cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, understanding how this protein dynamically behaves in cell membrane and with others known partners is an important question that needs further investigation.
  • Mitochondrial membrane dynamics, by determining a full-length structural model of the yeast mitofusin Fzo1, which is the principal actor involved in mitochondrial outer membrane fusion. The protein is hypothesised to undergo a conformational change GTPase domain-dependent during the fusion and my research aim to characterise the key regions of functional significance. 

Qualifications

  • PhD Computational and Molecular Modelling
  • MSc Bioinformatics
  • BSc Cellular and Molecular Biology

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's