prof. Savvas Savvides (PhD)

CRIG group leader
Savvas Savvides

Professor of Structural Biology (Faculty of Sciences, UGent)
Group leader, VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research


Research focus

We employ an integrative structural biology approach in conjunction with molecular interaction studies and cellular interrogation of the systems under study to elucidate the structural and mechanistic principles underlying the assembly, activation and pathophysiology of macromolecular complexes pivotal to inflammation, immunity, and cancer. The cornerstone of our research philosophy lies in a rigorous hypothesis-driven interrogation of the protein complexes under study, and is closely nested in collaborations with leading academic research groups in Belgium and abroad as well as industrial partners. 

We currently focus on 3 main research topics:

  • Pro-inflammatory signaling complexes.
  • Extracellular assembly and activation principles of oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases.
  • Protein engineering and antagonist design.

In particular, our efforts are fueled via experimental work in the spirit of integrative structural biology towards addressing the following:

  • The architecture, interaction epitopes, and assembly principles of protein-protein complexes.
  • The structural and evolutionary basis of mammalian and viral decoy receptors and their roles in immunomodulation.
  • The structural framework and mechanistic impact of somatic mutations identified in a number of the receptors under study.


Research team

  • dr. Kenneth Verstraete (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • dr. Danielle Clancy (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • dr. Yehudi Bloch (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • dr. Harald Braun (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • dr. Iva Markovic (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • dr. Alexandra Tsirigotaki (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow 
  • dr. Jan Felix (PhD) - post-doctoral fellow
  • Julie Andries - PhD fellow 
  • Robin De Backer - PhD fellow
  • Maria Karamolegkou - PhD fellow
  • Shubham Semwal - PhD fellow
  • Katarzyna Skladanowska - PhD fellow
  • Mathias Provost - scientist
  • Koen Verschueren - scientist
  • Ann Dansercoer - technician


Key publications

  • Structure and mechanism of cytokine-mediated activation of ALK family receptors. Nature (2021), 600:143-147.
  • Protein crystallization promotes type 2 immunity and is reversible by antibody treatment. Science (2019), 364:6442.
  • Structure of ATP citrate lyase and the origin of citrate synthase in the Krebs cycle. Nature (2019), 568:571-575.
  • Structural basis of latent TGF-β1 presentation and activation by GARP on human regulatory T cells. Science (2018), 362:952-956.
  • Structural Activation of Pro-inflammatory Human Cytokine IL-23 by Cognate IL-23 Receptor Enables Recruitment of the Shared Receptor IL-12Rβ1. Immunity (2018) 48:45–58.
  • Structure and Antagonism of the Receptor Complex Mediated by Human TSLP in Allergy and Asthma. Nature Communications (2017) 8:14937.
  • Structural basis of GM-CSF and IL-2 sequestration by the viral decoy receptor GIF. Nature Communications (2016), 7:13228.
  • Structural basis of IL-23 antagonism by an Alphabody protein scaffold. Nature Communications (2014), 5:5237.
  • Structural basis of the pro-inflammatory signaling complex mediated by TSLP. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (2014), 4:375-382.
  • Allosteric Competitive Inactivation of Hematopoietic CSF-1 Signaling by the Viral Decoy Receptor BARF1. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (2012), 19:938-947.

Contact & links

  • Savvas Savvides lab 
  • Lab address: VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research, Technologiepark 71, 9052 Zwijnaarde (Ghent), Belgium 
  • prof. Savvides is interested to receive invitations for talks and presentations