skip to content

Department of Chemistry

 

 

Dr Pietro Sormanni is a Royal Society University Research Fellow. His research focuses on the development of innovative data-driven technologies of rational antibody design, to obtain antibodies against targets that have been challenging to access using conventional approaches, and to improve or predict biophysical properties crucial for the successful development of antibody therapeutics. In his work he has established numerous collaborations and industrial partnerships, whose outcomes are beginning to demonstrate that computational approaches can be applied alongside established procedures to streamline antibody development, and to offer time- and cost-effective novel alternatives.  

 

Antibodies are key tools to address questions in biomedical research, are widely employed in diagnostics, and are increasingly used as therapeutics to treat many diseases, including cancer and neurodegeneration. Existing methods of antibody discovery and optimisation rely on the laboratory screening of large numbers of variants produced by library construction or by the immune system, which can be time consuming and costly, and sometimes result in antibodies exhibiting sub-optimal properties. Conversely, computational design could drastically reduce time and costs of antibody discovery, and in principle allow for a highly controlled parallel screening of multiple biophysical properties. Moreover, rational design inherently allows targeting specific regions on the target protein (epitopes), which can be particularly daunting using available techniques but is very important for many therapeutic applications.

 

Prior to taking up this post, Pietro held a postdoctoral Borysiewicz Biomedical Sciences  Fellowship from the University of Cambridge, obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge, and an MSc in Theoretical Physics from the University of Milan.

 

Selected publications:

Sormanni et al., ‘Third Generation Antibody Discovery Methods: In Silico Rational Design’, Chem Soc Rev 2018
Aprile et al., ‘Rational Design of a Conformation-Specific Antibody for the Quantification of Aβ Oligomers’, PNAS 2020
Wolf Pérez et al., ‘Assessment of therapeutic antibody developability by combinations of in vitro and in silico methods’, MiMB, 2020 in press.
Sormanni et al.,  ‘Rational design of antibodies targeting specific epitopes within intrinsically disordered proteins’, PNAS 2015 

 

 

Publications

A rationally designed bicyclic peptide remodels Aβ42 aggregation in vitro and reduces its toxicity in a worm model of Alzheimer's disease.
T Ikenoue, FA Aprile, P Sormanni, FS Ruggeri, M Perni, GT Heller, CP Haas, C Middel, R Limbocker, B Mannini, TCT Michaels, TPJ Knowles, CM Dobson, M Vendruscolo
– Scientific reports
(2020)
10,
15280
Rationally Designed Antibodies as Research Tools to Study the Structure-Toxicity Relationship of Amyloid-beta Oligomers
R Limbocker, B Mannini, R Cataldi, S Chhangur, AK Wright, RP Kreiser, JA Albright, S Chia, J Habchi, P Sormanni, JR Kumita, FS Ruggeri, CM Dobson, F Chiti, FA Aprile, M Vendruscolo
– Int J Mol Sci
(2020)
21,
1
Rational design of a conformation-specific antibody for the quantification of Aβ oligomers.
FA Aprile, P Sormanni, M Podpolny, S Chhangur, L-M Needham, FS Ruggeri, M Perni, R Limbocker, GT Heller, T Sneideris, T Scheidt, B Mannini, J Habchi, SF Lee, PC Salinas, TPJ Knowles, CM Dobson, M Vendruscolo
– Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
(2020)
117,
13509
Proteome-wide observation of the phenomenon of life on the edge of solubility.
G Vecchi, P Sormanni, B Mannini, A Vandelli, GG Tartaglia, CM Dobson, FU Hartl, M Vendruscolo
– Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
(2019)
117,
1015
Inherent Biophysical Properties Modulate the Toxicity of Soluble Amyloidogenic Light Chains.
M Maritan, M Romeo, L Oberti, P Sormanni, M Tasaki, R Russo, A Ambrosetti, P Motta, P Rognoni, G Mazzini, A Barbiroli, G Palladini, M Vendruscolo, L Diomede, M Bolognesi, G Merlini, F Lavatelli, S Ricagno
– J Mol Biol
(2019)
432,
845
Different soluble aggregates of A beta 42 can give rise to cellular toxicity through different mechanisms
S De, DC Wirthensohn, P Flagmeier, C Hughes, FA Aprile, FS Ruggeri, DR Whiten, D Emin, Z Xia, JA Varela, P Sormanni, F Kundel, TPJ Knowles, CM Dobson, C Bryant, M Vendruscolo, D Klenerman
– Nature communications
(2019)
10,
1541
Supersaturated Proteins are Enriched at Synapses and Underlie Cell and Tissue Vulnerability in Alzheimer’s Disease
R Freer, P Sormanni, P Ciryam, B Rammner, SO Rizzoli, CM Dobson, M Vendruscolo
– Heliyon
(2019)
5,
e02589
Biochemical and biophysical comparison of human and mouse beta-2 microglobulin reveals the molecular determinants of low amyloid propensity.
A Achour, L Broggini, X Han, R Sun, C Santambrogio, J Buratto, C Visentin, A Barbiroli, CMG De Luca, P Sormanni, F Moda, A De Simone, T Sandalova, R Grandori, C Camilloni, S Ricagno
– The FEBS Journal
(2019)
287,
546
A chemical kinetic basis for measuring translation initiation and elongation rates from ribosome profiling data
AK Sharma, P Sormanni, N Ahmed, P Ciryam, UA Friedrich, G Kramer, EP O'Brien
– PLoS Computational Biology
(2019)
15,
e1007070
Identifying A- and P-site locations on ribosome-protected mRNA fragments using Integer Programming.
N Ahmed, P Sormanni, P Ciryam, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, EP O'Brien
– Scientific Reports
(2019)
9,
6256
  • 1 of 5
  • >

Research Group

Telephone number

01223 761480

Email address

ps589@cam.ac.uk

College

Clare Hall