Elsa Sanchez-Garcia, Ph.D.
University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany

Elsa Sanchez-Garcia graduated in Chemistry at the University of Havana, Cuba, with outstanding results (Gold Medal and Best Graduate of the Year). In 2002, she received a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship for research training at the German Max Planck Institute for Radiation Chemistry (currently, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion) with Prof S. Braslavsky. In September 2002, she began her Ph.D studies at the University of Bochum, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. W. Sander and Prof. M. Havenith. In 2006, Dr. Sanchez-Garcia received Summa cum laude distinction and the Book Prize of the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Bochum for her Ph.D work. From August 2006 to March 2008 she worked as postdoctoral scientist and a teaching assistant at the University of Bochum. In April 2008, Dr. Sanchez got a grant from the Max Planck Society for postdoctoral research at the group of Prof. W. Thiel (Theory Department, Max Planck Institute for Coal Research). Since October 2010, Elsa Sanchez-Garcia is an independent junior group leader at the Theory Department of the MPI for Coal Research and remains actively inolved in teaching activities at the University of Bochum. She was awarded a Liebig Grant from the Funds of the Chemical Industry and was a member of the Global Young Faculty of the Mercator Foundation. Dr. Sanchez-Garcia is a participating scientist of the Excellence Cluster RESOLV (EXC 1069) and principal investigator at the Collaborative Research Center “Supramolecular Chemistry on Proteins” (SFB 1093), both funded by the German Research Council. Elsa Sanchez-Garcia has presented invited talks at universities and research centers in countries including Australia, Japan, Germany, Cuba and United States. In 2015, Elsa Sánchez-García received the prestigious “PLUS 3” grant from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. (http://kofo.mpg.de/en/news-events/news/elsa-snchez-garca-receives-plus-3-grant-from-the-boehringer-ingelheim-foundation).

The Sanchez-Garcia group investigates the regulation of protein properties by means of supramolecular chemistry (Bier et al., 2013; lump et al., 2015), computational mutagenesis (Sundermann et al., 2013) and solvents effects (Costa et al., 2014; Costa et al., 2015) as well as reactive intermediates and unusual molecules (Costa et al., 2016; Henkel et al., 2016). For this purpose, the group uses classical and enhanced sampling molecular dynamics simulations techniques in combination with free energy calculations and hybrid quantum mechanics / molecular mechanics (QM/MM) approaches. The implementation of multi-scale computational methods is another research interest of the Sanchez-Garcia group (Sokkar et al., 2015). With the aid of these computational tools, the binding of proteins and peptides to molecules with therapeutic potential, such as the molecular tweezers is investigated as well as the effect of such ligands on protein folding and protein-protein interactions (Figures 1 and 2).
Figure 1. Computed structure of the molecular tweezer, CLR01, interacting with the lysine residue of islet amyloid polypeptide, which is involved in the pathology of type-2 diabetes.
Figure 2. Computed structure of the molecular tweezer, CLR01, interacting with a lysine residue at the edge of the binding channel of a 14-3-3 adapter protein (Bier et al., 2013).

D Bier, R Rose, K Bravo-Rodriguez, M Bartel, JM Ramirez-Anguita, S Dutt, C Wilch, F -G Klärner, E Sanchez-Garcia, T Schrader, and C Ottmann. Molecular tweezers modulate 14-3-3 protein-protein interactions. Nat Chem. 2013 Mar;5(3):234-9.

Bravo-Rodriguez, Kenny; Klopries, Stephan; Koopmans, Kyra R. M.; Sundermann, Uschi; Yahiaoui, Samir; Arens, Julia; Kushnir, Susanna; Schulz, Frank*; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa*. “Substrate Flexibility of a Mutated Acyltransferase Domain: Implications for Polyketide Biosynthesis”. Chemistry & Biology. (2015), 22, 1425–1430. Journal Cover

Costa, Paolo; Trosien, Iris; Fernandez-Oliva, Miguel; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa*; Sander, Wolfram*. “The Fluorenyl Cation” Angewandte Chemie (2015), 54, 2656-2660. VIP publication and Journal Cover.

Costa, Paolo; Fernandez-Oliva, Miguel; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa* and Sander, Wolfram * “The Highly Reactive Benzhydryl Cation Isolated and Stabilized in Water Ice” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2014), 136, 15625−15630. Featured in JACS Spotlights and Journal Cover.

Costa, Paolo; Lohmiller, Thomas; Trosien, Iris; Savitsky, Anton*; Lubitz, Wolfgang; Fernández-Oliva, Miguel; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa* and Sander, Wolfram*. “Light and Temperature Control Of the Spin State of Bis( p-methoxy-phenyl)carbene: a Magnetically Bistable Carbene” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2016), 138, 1622–1629.

Henkel, Stefan; Costa, Paolo; Klute, Linda; Sokkar, Pandian; Fernandez-Oliva, Miguel; Thiel, Walter; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa* and Sander, Wolfram* “Switching the Spin State of Diphenylcarbene via Halogen Bonding” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2016), 138, 1689–1697.

Lump, Edina; Castellano, Laura M.; Meier, Christoph; Seeliger, Janine; Erwin, Nelli; Sperlich, Benjamin; Stürzel, Christina M.; Usmani, Shariq; Hammond, Rebecca M.; von Einem, Jens; Gerold, Gisa; Kreppel, Florian; Bravo-Rodriguez, Kenny; Pietschmann, Thomas; Holmes, Veronica M.; Weissman, Drew; Sowislok, Andrea; Wettig, Burkhard; Heid, Christian; Kirchhoff, Frank; Weil, Tanja; Klaerner, Frank-Gerrit; Schrader, Thomas; Bitan, Gal; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa; Winter, Roland; Shorter, James; Münch, Jan. “A Molecular Tweezer Antagonizes Seminal Amyloids and HIV Infection”. elife, (2015), 4:e05397

Sander W, Roy S, Polyak I, Ramirez-Anguita JM, Sanchez-Garcia E. The phenoxyl radical-water complex–a matrix isolation and computational study. J Am Chem Soc. 2012 May 16;134(19):8222-30.

Sokkar, Pandian; Boulanger, Eliot; Thiel, Walter; Sanchez-Garcia, Elsa*. “Hybrid Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics/Coarse-Grained Modeling: A Triple-Resolution Approach for Biomolecular Systems” Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation (2015), 11, 1809–1818. Journal Cover.

Sundermann U, Bravo-Rodriguez K, Klopries S, Kushnir S, Gomez H, Sanchez-Garcia E, et al. Enzyme-directed mutasynthesis: a combined experimental and theoretical approach to substrate recognition of a polyketide synthase. ACS Chem Biol. 2013 Feb 15;8(2):443-50.