Selected Publications

Structure and Computation in Immunoreagent Design: From Diagnostics to Vaccines. Gourlay L, Peri C, Bolognesi M, Colombo G. Trends Biotechnol. 2017. [PubMed: 28739221]


Champion, OL et al. (2016) Immunisation with proteins expressed during chronic murine melioidosis provides enhanced protection against disease. Vaccine. 34(14):1665-71. [PubMed: 26917010]


Gourlay, L.J. et al. (2015) From crystal structure to in silico epitope discovery in Burkholderia pseudomallei flagellar hook-associated protein FlgK. FEBS J. 282(7), 1319-33. [PubMed: 25645451]


Gourlay, L.J. et al. Exploiting the Burkholderia pseudomallei acute phase antigen BPSL2765 for structure-based epitope discovery/design in structural vaccinology. (2013) Chem. & Biol. 20, 1147-1156. [PubMed: 23993463]


Nuccitelli A et al. Structure-based approach to rationally design a chimeric protein for an effective vaccine against Group B Streptococcus infections. (2011)  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108, 10278-10283. [PubMed: 21593422]

Louise Gourlay, PhD


Assistant Professor of Biochemistry


CV, PubMed, Scopus

Current Group

Bruno Benassini


MS Student


Paola Pisaturo


MS Student


Scientific Programmes



A REgionAl network for the development of rapid Diagnostic tools to address emerging epidemics and bio-emergencies. (READy)


The aim of READy is to form a regional, scientific network of excellence for the rapid response to bio-emergencies. The project focuses on the development of new bioreagents and diagnostic kits that target emerging tropical diseases, including Chagas disease, diseases caused by arboviruses, Malaria and Schistosomiasis.


Epitope peptides for immunodiagnostic use will be predicted and designed using computational methods, starting from the crystal structures of known seroreactive Schistosoma and Trypanosoma antigens. UNIMI is actively producing recombinant Schistosoma and Trypanosoma antigens for immunological tests and 3D structure characterisation.


Regione Lombardia (2017-2020) PI-Prof Bolognesi



ICRM-CNR, Diagnostic Probes Srl., PRIMM Srl., Universita di Bicocca, Politecnico di Milano, Istituto Nazionale di Genetica Molecolare, Ospedale Luigi Sacco di Milano.



Epitope peptide-based microarray platforms for rapid immunodiagnostics. Epitope peptides are predicted from 3D antigen structures and subsequently synthesised as free peptides. Peptides are immobilised in specific orientations on polymeric coated microchips using click chemistry. This figure is from Gori et al., 2016 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.6b00426)

Epitope grafting on bacterial vesicles to develop a novel Burkholderia Vaccine.


Research efforts regard X-ray crystallography studies of protein antigens as targets for computational epitope mapping and vaccine component design. We target antigens from the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei that causes melioidosis, responsible for significant mortality in endemic populations. Using epitope grafting, we aim to generate 'super antigens' that host multiple epitopes, in order to induce an enhanced immune response. To validate our efforts, we will display the generated epitopes, Ags and grafts on Outer Membrane Vesicles, which will be exploited as multi-epitope presentation vessels for in vivo tests.


llustrazione of epitope grafting. An epitope from one antigen is transplanted onto a structurally apt region of another antigen or heterogenous protein scaffold. This figure is from Capelli et al., 2017 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.6b00584)

Funding: PRIN Contract number 2015JTL4HL (2016-2019). PI-Prof Bolognesi

Collaborators: Dr. G. Colombo (ICRM-CNR, Milano), Dr. G. Grandi (University of Trento).


Last update 09/09/20

The Structural Biology Group comprises members from both the DBS-UNIMI and the IBF-CNR. The content herein is not regulated by the University of Milan.