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TU Berlin

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Dr. Marta Maria Lavouras Mendes


"Proteins are the foundation of life. Knowing their structure is fundamental to understand how they work and ultimately how life works. Recently, cross-linking and mass spectrometry were associated and used as a tool to determine protein structures. My research aims to optimize the methodology and turn it into a powerful tool able to predict high-resolution protein structures."


Scientific career

September 2015 – Now: IPODI Fellow, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

2014: Research associate, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK

2011-2013: Postdoctoral researcher, Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas, Spain

2007-2011: PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology, New University of Lisbon, Portugal

2006-2007: Research associate, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, New University of Lisbon, Portugal

2004-2006: Postgraduate student, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, New University of Lisbon, Portugal

2003: Biological Engineering Degree, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal



Email: m.mendes[at]tu-berlin.de



IPODI Research Project

Cross-linking/mass spectrometry: A novel tool to determine protein structures

Duration: 30 September 2015 – 29 September 2017

Mentor: Prof. Dr. Juri Rappsilber, Faculty III, Institute of Biotechnology, Chair of Bioanalytics

Abstract: Determining protein structures is a key component of our endeavour of understanding life and disease. Unfortunately, current structure determination methods require very special conditions, which are very different from those that proteins normally function in. The methodology that I propose to develop will reveal the structure of proteins in their native environments. The technology uses chemical cross-linking, mass spectrometry and conformational space search. It was recently used to perform a blind test in CASP showing its limitations. This proposal aims to transform CLMS into a robust and versatile structure determination tool by overcoming such limitations. To do so I will: improve data amount by optimising sample preparation using different fractionation techniques, optimise MS acquisition and using alternative cross-linkers. I will improve data distribution by testing alternative proteases. Data characteristics will also be improved by using alternative cross-linkers. TU Berlin has the unique technology and expertise, through the Rappsilber lab, to help me achieve these goals. Due to its state of the art technology and collaborations established, this proposal will deliver a thoroughly tested robust pipeline of CLMS to the larger scientific community.






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