University of Vienna

University of Vienna
Universitätsring 1
1010 Wien

The University of Vienna was founded in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world and one of the largest in Central Europe. At present, about 91,000 students are enrolled in more than 180 courses at the University of Vienna. The University of Vienna is also the largest teaching and research institution in Austria with 9,400 employees, 6,700 of whom are scientists and academics.

The Pharmacoinformatics Research Group, part of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and embedded in the Faculty of Life Sciences, strives to follow a holistic pharmacoinformatic approach, combining multi-dimensional annotation, structural modeling of biomolecular systems, structure-based drug design, chemometric and in silico chemogenomic methods, statistical modeling and machine learning approaches to develop predictive computational systems for off-target pharmacologies. The validation and optimization of the obtained in silico models by strong links to experimental groups is an integral part of these activities. The main fields of research include the investigation of ABC transporters, the Neurotransmitter/Sodium Symporter (NSS) family, as well as ligand gated ion channels like the GABAa receptor or TRPV-1. Research activities are complemented by strong educational activities, especially by coordinating the EUROPIN programme, a European PhD Programme in Pharmacoinformatics.

Key staff involved:

Gerhard F. Ecker
Gerhard Ecker is Professor for Pharmacoinformatics and Head of the Pharmacoinformatics Research Group at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Vienna. He also coordinates the research focus “Computational Life Sciences” of the Faculty of Life Sciences. Gerhard received his doctorate in natural sciences from the University of Vienna and performed his post-doctoral training at the group of J. Seydel in Borstel (Germany). He has published more than 130 articles mainly related to SAR and QSAR studies on P-glycoprotein (P-gp), edited 3 books and gave more than 100 invited lectures. His research focuses on computational drug design, which not only led to the identification of highly active propafenone-type inhibitors of P-gp, but also paved the way for development of new descriptors and virtual screening approaches for identification of new scaffolds active at P-gp. With the increasing knowledge on the importance of P-gp for ADME, his interest moved towards the prediction of ABC-transporter substrate properties. Recently he extended the studies also on other transporters and antitargets, such as SERT, DAT, NET, and GAT1-4, as well as the hERG potassium channel, the GABA receptor, and TRPV1. Besides this, he coordinates the Open PHACTS project, which aims at creating an Open Pharmacological Space by semantic integration of public databases. Gerhard is member of Editorial Advisory Boards and Editorial Boards of several journals and Editor of Molecular Informatics. He regularly organizes a summer school on drug design in Vienna and coordinates the EUROPIN PhD program in Pharmacoinformatics. 2009 – 2011 he served as President of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry.

Barbara Zdrazil
Barbara Zdrazil is working as postdoctoral University Assistant at the University of Vienna, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She is the principal investigator in a FWF stand-alone project, investigating hepatic OATP-ligand interactions and selectivity. Barbara earned her PhD in the field of Pharmacoinformatics/Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Vienna in 2006. During her PhD, Barbara was mainly engaged in QSAR and cheminformatics, and got some training in chemogenomis during an internship with Jordi Mestres (Barcelona). Barbara performed her postdoctoral training in the group of Hans-Dieter Höltje (University of Düsseldorf) where she gained knowledge in molecular dynamic simulations. From 2008 onwards Barbara was working as a project Co-worker in the Pharmacoinformatics Research Group (University of Vienna), being involved in national and European projects: SFB35 (FWF), eTOX (IMI), OpenPHACTS (IMI), and EU-ToxRisk (H2020 project). Her main research interests include data mining, data integration, antitargets and related toxicity, the concepts of polypharmacology and selectivity.

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