Francesco Luigi Gervasio

Prof. Francesco Luigi Gervasio

Biological and Pharmaceutical Modelling, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences

022 379 4242

I am Professor of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Geneva and Professor of Chemistry, Structural and Molecular Biology and chair of bio-molecular modelling at University College London. I am also the director of the JC Maxwell CECAM node and the chief editor of Frontiers in Biological Modeling and Simulations. I got my PhD in Chemistry from University of Firenze, Italy at the end of 2001. I then joined the ETH Zurich, first as a postdoc and then as Oberassistent (2002-2009). In 2009, I joined the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid - Spain as the leader of the Biophysics group. In 2013, I joined University College London as full professor. And in 2020, I joined the University of Geneva as professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Our group develops computational methods to study complex biomolecular systems with a focus on drug discovery.

Our methods have been used to clarify the mode of action of several oncogenic mutations in kinases and to design anticancer drugs in collaboration with pharmaceutical industries. We contribute to the CRTOH with our unique computational modelling and computer aided drug discovery expertise. My main research aims is to develop computational tools to develop therapies for complex diseases, with a particular focus on cancer and to understand the effect of disease-causing mutations (for precision medicine). The computational methods we developed are widely used in academia and industry. A few research highlights from our group include the prediction of a previously unknown cryptic binding pocket used to design allosteric modulators of FGFR (published in Cancer Cell), the clarification of an unexpected moonlighting activity by Glutamine Synthetase (Nature 2018), the clarification of the mechanism of activation of a B G-protein–coupled receptor (PNAS 2020), the clarification of the effect of widespread oncogenic mutations on EGFR (ELife 2021) and the discovery of druggable cavities in COVID-19 Nsp1 (in press in eLife). Our core expertise in modelling the structure and dynamics of drug targets as well as in structure-based drug discovery is of interest to several groups within the CRTOH.


  • F. Bono..., F.L. Gervasio et al. Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and growth by a small-molecule multi-FGF receptor blocker with allosteric properties, Cancer Cell, 23, 477-488, 2013
  • L. Sutto & F L Gervasio* Effects of oncogenic mutations on the conformational free energy landscape of EGFR kinase Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 110, 10616-10621, 2013.
  • G. Eelen, et al. Glutamine Synthetase Regulates Vessel Sprouting by Modulating RHOJ Nature 561, 63-69, 2018.
  • L. Zanetti-Domingues, D. Korovesis, S. Needham, C. Tynan, S. Sagawa, S. Roberts, A. Kuzmanic, E. Ortiz-Zapater, P. Jain, R. Roovers, A. Lajevardipour, P. van Bergen en Henegouwen, G. Santis, A. Clayton, D. Clarke, F. L. Gervasio, Y. Shan, D. Shaw, D. Rolfe, P. Parker & M. Martin-Fernandez The architecture of EGFR’s basal complexes reveals autoinhibition mechanisms in dimers and oligomers Nat. Commun. 9, 4325, 2018.
  • I Galdadas, L Carlino, RA Ward, SJ Hughes, S Haider, FL Gervasio Structural basis of the effect of activating mutations on the EGF receptor Elife 10, e65824, 2021