Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars
Proteomics and Protein Chemistry Group, Molecular Medicine Programme, Dept. CEXS, UPF
David Andreu is Professor of Chemistry at UPF, where he leads a research group in protein chemistry/proteomics. He studied chemistry and obtained his PhD (1981) at the University of Barcelona (UB), then trained further in peptide chemistry with R. B. Merrifield at Rockefeller University (1982-85), and since 1986 was Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at UB until he joined UPF in 2001. Among his group’s interests are peptide pharmaceuticals such as the vaccines and antimicrobials that will be the subject of his talk. David is the current editor-in-chief of Drugs of the Future (Thomson Reuters) and president-elect (2016-20) of the European Peptide Society. He received the UPF Board of Trustees award for excellence in technology transfer (2013), the Isabel Mínguez de Tudela award (Vet+I Platform, Spanish Ministry of Agriculture) for innovation in animal health (2014), and more recently (May 2015) a Doctor-et-Professor honorary degree by the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest.
In past decades, peptides and the pharma industry have had an often unsteady relationship, but the increasing presence of biologicals in the therapeutic arsenal has given peptide-based drugs a growing, more significant role in areas such as cardiovascular, endocrinology, analgesia, anti-infectives or vaccines. The talk will focus on these last two areas and summarize recent progress from our lab and collaborators on the design and development of a fully synthetic vaccine, successfully tested in swine to give 100% protection against foot-and-mouth disease, the animal viral disease of economically most damaging consequences. In the anti-infectives area, our enduring interest in antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) has led, among other results, to the development of computational tools for predicting AMP domains in proteins, to structure-guided dissection of proteins in search of optimized AMP pharmacophores, or to the discovery of novel AMPs in snake venoms.