Showing articles associated with John Vakonakis

Professor John Vakonakis is a structural biologist using X-ray crystallography, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and biophysical tools to understand how proteins assemble into large molecular machines. His research is based at the Department of Biochemistry and he is Fellow of Lincoln College.

What is your main area(s) of interest/expertise?

Integrating biophysical and structural tools to study protein assemblies with direct relevance to human health and infectious disease.  

What are you working on right now?

I am assisting the development of antiviral drugs that target a key enzyme of COVID-19, the main protease of the virus, using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). NMR is able to characterise binding of putative drugs to the COVID-19 protease even if this binding is weak. Weak binding is common for drugs that are not yet fully optimised for their target, as is the case when dealing with a new virus.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in this field of research?

Oxford is a hub for structural biology research in the UK owing to its history and proximity to large national facilities. This facilitated the formation of a large collaboration to target COVID-19 enzymes, involving groups at Diamond Light Source (Harwell), the Structural Genomics Consortium (Headington), and the Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry. Together, we can bring many complementary tools to bear on the virus, and accelerate research.

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John Vakonakis
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