Professor Teresa Carlomagno PhD

Professor Teresa Carlomagno

School of Biosciences
Professor and Academic Lead of HWB-NMR

Contact details

Address
Integrative Structural Biology
School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Teresa Carlomagno is an internationally recognized expert in the development and application of integrative structural biology (ISB) to biomolecular complexes. She has dedicated her scientific life to studying how molecular partners communicate with each other; in this mission her research has been pushing the limits of structural biology techniques in solution to address questions of constantly higher complexity.

In recent years structural biology has expanded to include the notion that some molecules do not have a well-defined shape but are rather malleable; these molecules can interact with predefined three-dimensional structures by adapting to them, similar to pieces of playdough. Even more recently, efficient and functional interactions have been demonstrated to exist between spaghetti-like molecules, which are able to bind tightly to each other while preserving their disorder (as in a tangle of ropes). In her research, Teresa Carlomagno uses ISB to understand how these flexible molecular complexes form, execute tasks and disassociate. She characterizes intermolecular interactions at the border between structure, dynamics and disorder by combining NMR spectroscopy both in solution and in solid-state with XRS, EM, Small-Angle-Scattering (SAS) and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR). In parallel, she develops the computational methodologies necessary to interpret and evaluate ISB data.

Qualifications

Ph.D. in Chemistry - University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy

Diploma in Chemistry - University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy

Biography

Teresa Carlomagno studied Chemistry at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, where she obtained the Ph.D. in 1996. Afterwards, she was a post-doctoral fellow in Frankfurt, Germany and a research assistant at the Scripps Research Institute in California. In 2002 she became an independent research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany. From 2007 to 2015 she held the position of group leader in Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy at the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. From 2015 to 2021 she was full-professor in Structural Chemistry at the Leibniz University in Hannover and group leader at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig in Braunschweig. In October 2021 she joined the University of Birmingham.

Postgraduate supervision

Teresa has supervised more than 20 PhD and master students in various areas of structural biology including RNA and protein structure, structure-based drug design, methodology development by NMR and integrative structural biology of biomolecular complexes.

Research

The laboratory studies macromolecular complexes with enzymatic function involved in RNA metabolism and in the regulation of gene expression. Many complexes in the research portfolio contain both proteins and RNA. RNA executes incredibly many roles in eukaryotic cells, thanks to its low-diversity chemical composition, which allows the polymer to change structure depending on the environment, binding partners and cofactors. Thus, the integrative structural biology (ISB) approach is ideal to understand how RNA molecules moonlight between different, tightly regulated functions. 
In particular the group is active in the biological areas of:
  1. RNA editing, modification and metabolism.
  2. Chromatin modifications.
  3. Regulation of protein function in cancer and infections.
The research group also contributes new methodologies to ISB. For example, the Carlomagno group has pioneered solid-state NMR spectroscopy as an irreplaceable tool to solve structures of RNA in flexible RNP complexes, which are not suitable for XRS and EM studies. 

Other activities

2017 – Present:  Member of the “DFG WGI Ausschuss”, the committee evaluating the proposals for large instrumentation submitted to the German Research Council (DFG) 

2017 – Present: Member of the Board of the “Fachgruppe Magnetische Resonanz“ of the Society of German Chemists

2018:  Member of the Scientific Committee of the EUROMAR (European Magnetic Resonance meeting) 

2018: Member of the Scientific Committee of the ICMRBS (International Conference on Magnetic Resonance in Biological Systems)

2017: Member of the Scientific Committee of the AILM (Advanced Isotope Labelling Methods) conference

2016: Organizer of EMBO Conference “Molecular Machines: Integrative Structural and Molecular Biology” – Heidelberg, Germany 

2015: Chair of the Experimental NMR Conference in Asilomar, California 

2008 – 2016: Member of the organizing committee of the ENC

2014: Chair of the EMBO/EMBL Symposium “Molecular Machines: Lessons from integrating structure, biophysics and chemistry” – Heidelberg, Germany