Angel Ortiz - Biography - Research


Upon completion of his Ph. D., Ortiz joined Prof. Jeffrey Skolnick's group at the Department of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in USA (1996–2000). There he significantly contributed to the development of MONSTER, at the time one of the most successful Monte Carlo algorithms for predicting protein structure in the absence of a template, as assessed in the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP), a contest for which he would soon be acting as an advisor. A few years later, he developed, in collaboration with Bin Qian and David Baker, an original and imaginative framework for assisting homology-based modelling of protein structures making use of both empirical knowledge of protein structure evolution and equilibrium dynamics. In 2000 Ortiz moved to New York and started to work in Mount Sinai School of Medicine, establishing his own researching group on genomics. During this period he developed MAMMOTH, a program that is now consolidated as one of the references in the field of protein structure alignment.

Later on, Ortiz went back to Spain, where he founded and headed the Bioinformatics Unit at the Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa" in Madrid, under the auspices of the Spanish National Research Council. There he applied the MAMMOTH algorithm to the study of protein structure evolution, unveiling how deeply protein topology constrains the possible evolutionary paths. The other research pillar in his group was the development and optimization of a complete suite of programs to carry out docking and virtual screening experiments aimed at the identification of drug candidates, being gCOMBINE (COMparative BINding Energy) and CRDOCK two successful examples.

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