Research in F. Fanelli lab. has historically focused on the development of computational protocols and structural models to decipher the functioning mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) of the rhodopsin family and their cognate Gα proteins.

More recently interests have extended to the small G proteins of the Ras GTPase superfamily, in particular RhoA and its activators, i.e. the Guanine Exchange Factors (GEF) of the Dbl family.

Essential aspects of research include development of protocols and software for tertiary and quaternary protein structure predictions and for the analyses of biomolecular structures and trajectories.

Other relevant branches concern structure-based drug discovery/design.

Major ongoing projects

  1. Development and applications of the Protein Structure Network (PSN) analysis tool to unveil the structural communication in biomolecular systems;

  2. maintenance and development of the Wordom software for the analysis of molecular structures, trajectories, and free energy surfaces.

  3. Integrated in silico and in vitro studies towards the characterization of rhodopsin mutations associated with the Autosomal Dominant form of Retinitis Pigmentosa (adRP);

  4. structure-based discovery/development of pharmacological chaperones with therapeutic potential against adRP caused by rod opsin mutations;

  5. structure-based discovery/development of inhibitors of Lbc-RhoA interaction with therapeutic potential as anticancer agents;

  6. structure-based discovery of V2 vasopressin receptor ligands as potential therapeutic agents against the Nephrogenic Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuresis (NSIAD);

  7. structure-based discovery of small ligands of the KDEL receptor;

  8. investigation of functional dynamics of RasGTPases and their GEFs;

  9. structure prediction of the architecture of GPCR dimers/oligomers.