Eva Mariana de Sousa Cunha
Currently, I am a researcher in the structural biology team at NCMM. I have recently been awarded the Young Talent Grant from the Research Council of Norway to study structure and function of human transporters (please see my project page for more details). Previously, I was a researcher in the laboratory headed by Prof. Hartmut Luecke at the Structural Biology and Drug Discovery Group at NCMM. I helped Prof. Luecke to setup the first cryo-EM sample preparation and data processing infrastructure at UiO. In one of my projects, I have targeted Helicobacter pylori that chronically infects the human stomach and is a major cause for gastric cancer. The project is aimed at developing an innovative monotherapy to eradicate chronic infection by H. pylori. Together with Prof. Luecke, I have determined the structure of the 1.1 MDa Helicobacter pylori urease complex to 2.0 Å resolution with a novel inhibitor bound using single particle cryo-EM. The manuscript has been published in Nature Communications (2021). I carried out this and other projects in the laboratory of Prof. Luecke, using cryo-EM, while funded by a H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) Individual Fellowship.
Previously, I worked at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, in the Kudryashev group, where we were interested in solving high-resolution structures of membrane proteins using Cryo-electron microscopy.
Previously in my scientific career I have combined biophysical and structural biology techniques to understand how proteins fold and interact. As a Postdoctoral fellow at CICbioGUNE, Spain, in the Abrescia group I used x-ray crystallography to study Hepatitis C virus cellular receptors.
As a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, USA in the Barrick group I used biophysics and thermodynamics to unravel how cellulases can be engineered to improve stability and enzymatic activity.
Remarkable progress has been achieved in the field of Cryo-EM, substantially increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, resulting in structure determination at near-atomic resolution
Cunha, Eva; Chen, Xiaorui; Sanz Gaitero, Marta; Mills J, Deryck & Luecke, Hartmut (2021). Cryo-EM structure of Helicobacter pylori urease with an inhibitor in the active site at 2.0 Å resolution. Nature Communications. ISSN 2041-1723. 12:230, p. 1–8. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20485-6.
Heim, Joel Benjamin; Kersten, Flore Marie Colette; Cunha, Eva & Luecke, Hartmut (2020). Survival in acidic environments – Structure and mechanism of bacterial urea channels.