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2020 Fellow

Gabriella Heller

PhD Institution
University of Cambridge
Postdoctoral institution and lab

Hansen Lab, University College London

Gabriella is a structural biologist who used her PhD at the University of Cambridge to utilize high-powered computational approaches to probe how drugs interact with a class of disease-causing proteins in the body called disordered proteins. In particular, Gabriella focused on studying disordered proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Disordered proteins are challenging to target with drugs as they rapidly change their structure and lack traditional drug-binding pockets.

As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Gabriella is working with Prof. D Flemming Hansen at University College London, where she is pivoting from computation into experimental structural biology to uncover the rules of drug binding to viral disordered proteins. In particular, she is learning a technique called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) which offers unparalleled accuracy to experimentally characterize disordered proteins and their interactions.

Gabriella aims to combine both computation and experiment towards the development of novel antiviral treatments targeting protein disorder.