Valeria Napolitano




Jagiellonian University Krakow


Prof. Grzegorz Dubin (JU), Dr. Karl Andersson (RV), Dr. Grzegorz Popowicz (HMGU)

Research Topic:

Structural analysis of fragment-protein and ligand-protein complexes

About the project:

Trypanosomiasis are neglected diseases caused by parasitic protists of the Trypanosoma genus. In humans this includes African trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease.

Glycosomes are peroxisome-like organelles essential for trypanosomatid parasites. Glycosome biogenesis is mediated by proteins called "peroxins" (PEX), which are considered to be promising drug targets in pathogenic Trypanosomatidae.  It is shown that is possible to selectively kill Trypanosoma by blocking glycosomal import that depends on the PEX14-PEX5 protein-protein interaction.

The principal aim of this project is to provide sufficient support for other partners of the consortium in the design and optimization of small molecule inhibitors of PEX protein for the treatment of Trypanosomiasis. X-Ray crystallography will be used to study the specific interactions of potential ligands with the protein target at the atomic level. Moreover, biophysical assay will be developed to elucidate the binding affinities.


Personal information:

I was born in 1988 in Avellino, Italy. I studied chemistry at the University of Naples “Federico II”, where I graduated with honours with a Master’s Degree in July 2015. In September 2015, I was awarded a three-month fellowship by the Department of Chemical Sciences of the University of Naples “Federico II”. In May 2016 I started my PhD at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and joined the AEGIS ITN funded by the European Commission under the H2020 Programme.



Helmholtz Zentrum München (1,5 months), Medical University of Warsaw (WUM) (1 month), Ridgeview Instruments (5,5 months)


List of publications:

Establishing Trypanosoma cruzi farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase as a viable target for biosensor driven fragment based lead discovery. Opassi G, Nordström H, Lundin A, Napolitano V, Magari F, Dzus T, Klebe G, Danielson UH; Protein Science 2019, accepted. DOI: 10.1002/pro.3834


List of posters:

X-ray structures of PEX14 complexes reveal protein surface adaptation after ligand binding. Napolitano V, Ratkova EL, Dawidowski M, Fino R, Popowicz GM, Tetko IV, Sattler M and Dubin G; HDDC 2018, Apr 26/27, Munich, Germany


List of presentations: