14 February 2023

Alexander Hauser receives 4.8 mill DKK for peptide signalling systems project

Pharma Research

Associate Professor Alexander Hauser has received the grant from Carlsberg Foundation’s Semper Ardens: Accelerate programme for the project “Discovery of Novel Peptide-GPCR Signalling Systems across Evolutionary Domains”.

Alexander Hauser
Associate Professor Alexander Hauser.

On receiving the grant, Alexander Hauser says, "I am very grateful for the generous support from the Carlsberg Foundation. This grant not only demonstrates trust in the computational approaches but also strengthens the Departments pharmaceutical data science activities. I am eager to put this generosity to work and to build a strong team in the coming months."

The project team will also include a postdoc and a PhD position, funded by the grant.

With the project, the new group will employ novel computational methods and datasets to discover and predict inter-species

peptide:receptor interactions to explain how biophysical and functional relationships remain coordinated over evolutionary time.

Deep learning-based approaches, such as AlphaFold2 (AF2), achieved remarkable performances on the prediction of protein structures. Moreover, these methods also outperform classical protein-protein docking strategies. This project will significantly expand this analytical framework, incorporating ever-increasing publicly available data including thousands of metagenomes from microbial communities, millions of structural protein models, and a plethora of omics-dataset from all clades of life.

The team will build and utilize end-to-end deep-learning protocols based on AF2’s transformative methods and models underlying residue-residue co-evolution to find inter-species and across domains of life peptide:receptor pairs that have co-evolved for their respective ecological niche.

This includes, but is not limited to, microbiome-derived peptide-hormones, plant-derived sweet-tasting proteins, and venom-derived peptides from cone-snails, snakes, and spiders, elucidating novel molecular interconnections between species retelling evolutionary processes.

See Alexander Hauser's researcher profile and all his publications here