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Anastassis (Tassos) Perrakis group

Anastassis Perrakis.jpg

Anastassis (Tassos) Perrakis

Group leader

Personal details


As a pre-doctoral fellow at the EMBL-Hamburg laboratory under the supervision of Keith Wilson, I worked on the structures of chitinolytic enzymes, a family of enzymes with high biotechnological interest. Our publications on Chitinase A (Structure, 1994), Chitobiase (Nature Structural Biology, 1995) and their chemical mechanism for chitin hydrolysis (Journal Americal Chemical Society, 1996) have been cited around a thousand times altogether. As an EMBO long term fellow in the group of Titia Sixma at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), I started a project on the structure determination of the DNA mismatch recognition protein MutS. At the same time I helped to initiate the crystallography infrastructure of the NKI lab, and started my work on wARP which was to lead a couple of years later to the popular ARP/wARP software package for X-ray crystallography. I moved on as a staff scientist in the group of Stephen Cusack at the EMBL-Grenoble, where for three years I participated in a team that built and commissioned the µ-diffractometer at ESRF beamline ID13. I also pursued my post-doctoral work research interests in DNA mismatch repair, and determined the structure of MutS in complex with mismatched DNA, published in Nature in 2000. At the same time we have released the first version of ARP/wARP, the first automated macromolecular model building software for X-ray crystallography; the paper we published in 1999 in Nature Structural Biology has enjoyed more than two thousand citations since.

In 2000 I moved back to the NKI  where as an independent group leader I have established a research team funded by external competitive grants. My research team focuses on structural and biophysical aspects of the cellular mechanisms that ensure correct DNA inheritance: DNA replication and the subsequent chromatid separation during mitosis. At the same time we have a strong interest on understanding the function and structure of Autotaxin, a lipid esterase involved in many aspects of human health including cancer, and JBP1, a thymidine oxidase and DNA0binding protein, that is involved in epigenetic modifications of parasites and has human homologues that are key players in myeloid leukemia. Our research continues to be complemented by the activity in developing methods for automated protein model building, with our latest venture being PDB_REDO. 

Concurrently, my team has played an active role in the successful implementation of Structural Genomics (Proteomics) initiatives in Europe, in the SPINE initiative.  I have been the scientific organizer of a series of EMBO practical courses, international meetings such as the CCP4 workshop and the Como School, guest editor for Acta Crystallographical D, and invited lecturer and teacher in various international conferences, workshops, and courses. I am co-editor for the journals "Protein: Structure, function and bioinformatics" and the "Journal of Structural Biology" ; I have also served in advisory groups and grant selection committees in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal, Spain,  and Austria; finally I have been the external examiner for PhD students in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Greece and Denmark.

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