Isabel Moraes


Isabel Moraes is the MPL coordinator and group leader responsible for the  management, user projects and developments of the laboratory.She joined MPL in June 2010 from Evotec.

Tel: +44 (0) 1235778664

Key Research Area

Key Research Areas

  • Membrane protein crystalisation
  • Structural Biology Methods development
  • Drug discovery
  1. Research Expertise
  2. Collaborations
  3. Publications
  4. Biography
Research Expertise -

Current Research Interests

Membrane proteins play a vital role in many critical biological processes. Nearly 30% of proteins in eukaryotic cells are known to be membrane proteins. Mutations or improper folding of these proteins is associated with many known diseases such heart disease,cystic fibrosis, depression, obesity, cancer and many others. Currently approximately 60% of available drugs target membrane proteins. Accelerating the speed at which structural insights into membrane proteins are recovered is relevant to drug-design making major contributions to human health. The Membrane Protein Laboratory at Diamond was created as a research and training user facility open to scientists from laboratories anywhere in the world that are interested in determining membrane protein structures by X-ray crystallography.

At the Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL), I am responsible for the daly management of the facility as well as its scientific research. I provide scientific advice and guidance to all projects at the MPL and I am resposible for the stablishment of internal and external collaborations (national and international). In addition, I have established collaborations with the Diamond MX beamline scientists regarding to the development of new methodologies in crystallisation and structural determination of membrane proteins, including prototype systems for high throughput methods, improving handling of small and delicate crystals and methods for collecting and merging data from a large number of small crystals. In the last years I have organized many courses and workshops in field of membrane protein structural biology at UK and abroad and I am also strongly involved in scientific public engagements.

Collaborations - +


  1. “In meso crystallization of energy-transducing proteins of Escherichia coli: ExbB-ExbD” In collaboration with Prof. James Coulton Institution: McGill University – Canada
  2. “Structural Studies of the Endotoxin Biosynthesis Enzyme LptA in Neisseria Meningitides” - Paper in preparation In collaboration with Prof. Alice Vrielink Institution: University of Western Australia
  3. “Structural characterization of the bifunctional enzyme involved in the synthesis of di-myo-inositol-phosphate from Archaeoglobus fulgidus” – Paper submitted In collaboration with Dr Margarida Archer Institution: University of Lisbon – membrane protein laboratory - Portugal
Publications - +


P. Nogly, I. Gushchin, A. Remeeva, A.M. Esteves, A. Ishchenko, P. Ma, S. Grudinin, N. Borges, E Round, I. Moraes, V. Borshchevskiy, H. Santos, V. Gordeliy & M. Archer. X-ray structure of a membrane protein from the CDP-alcohol phosphatidyltransferase family. Submitted

I. Moraes & Margarida Archer, Successful Membrane Protein Crystallization, Structural Proteomics - Methods in Molecular Biology 2nd edition, Editor: Ray Owens, Springer 2014

 I. Moraes, G. Evans J. Sanchez-Weatherby, S. Newstead, Patrick Shawn. Structure determination of membrane proteins – The next generation. Biochimica et Biophysica

Acta 2014. A. Douangamath, P. Aller, P. Lukacik,J. Sanchez-Weatherby, I. Moraes and J. Brandao-Neto (2012).Using high-throughput in situ plate screening to evaluate the effect of dehydration on protein crystals. Acta Cryst D69.

D. Axford, R. L. Owen, J. Foadi, A. W. Morgan, James I. Robinson, J. Nettleship, R. Owens, I. Moraes, D. I. Stuart, J. Ren, E. E. Fry, K. Harlos, A. Kotecha and G. Evans (2013). In situ macromolecular crystallography using microbeams. Acta Cryst D68:592-600.

M. Smith, V. Mack, A. Ebneth, I. Moraes, B. Felicetti, M. Wood, D. Schonfeld, O. Mather, A. Cesura, J. Barker. (2011) The Structure of Mammalian Serine Racemase. Evidence for Conformational Changes Upon Inhibitor Binding. J Biol Chem 285:12873–12881.

Biography - +


Dr Isabel Moraes is the Membrane Protein Laboratory’s group leader under the directorate of Prof. So Iwata. The Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL) at Diamond Light Source is a research and training state-of-the-art user facility open to scientists from laboratories anywhere in the world interested in solving 3D structures of membrane proteins by X-ray crystallography. At MPL, Dr Moraes is resposible for the daly management of the facility as well as its scientific research and grants program. She provides scientific advice and guidance to all projects at the MPL and is resposible for the stablishment of internal and external collaborations (national and international). Prior to the MPL, Dr Moraes worked several years as structural biologist in industry (Evotec) where she has gained vast experience in fragment drug discovery. She worked directly with computational and medicinal chemistry teams through the delivery of atomic structural information of bound ligands/fragments to protein drug targets maximazing the efficiency of synthetic chemistry through structure-driven drug discovery. Dr Moraes was also resposible for presenting and interpreting scientific data to Evotec’s clients (Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies in USA and Japan). As recognition for her work at key projects, Evotec has awarded her as “The Company Outstanding Scientist” in 2009. Today, she still hold collaborations with Evotec in the drug discovery of GPCRs. She obtained a PhD (2006) in Protein X-ray Crystallography with a focus in drug discovery at the University of Reading (UK) under Professor Christine Cardin supervision and in collaboration with Syngenta. Dr Moraes also holds a Masters degree in Bioinformatics and Molecular Modelling from the University of London, Birkbeck College and a first degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lisbon –Portugal.