Nicola G A Abrescia
Nicola G A Abrescia
Ikerbasque Research Professor
Ikerbasque Research Professor
Structure and Cell Biology of Viruses Lab
Address: Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, building 800, Derio (Bizkaia)

Dr. Abrescia received his undergraduate degree from the Università degli Studi di Milano (Milan, Italy) in Physics after defending his Minor Thesis in 1996 on crystallogenesis and X-ray crystallography of DNA fragments. Following his graduation he joined the Subirana lab at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Barcelona-Spain). He completed his graduate studies at the beginning of 2001; the work was supported by a pre-doctoral Training Mobility Research Marie Curie fellowship. During his graduate studies he also worked as a visiting student, at the Institute of Cancer Research-UK, at Yale and Harvard (USA). In spring 2001 he began his appointment as a postdoctoral research scientist at the Division of Structural Biology at The Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at University of Oxford with MRC Prof. DI Stuart.

Since October 2008 he has held a tenured Ikerbasque Research Professorship from the Basque Foundation for Science and he is Group Leader at the Structural Biology Unit at the CIC bioGUNE. Major contributions during his academic training, among others, have been a PNAS article in 2002, two Nature articles in 2004, a NSMB and Mol Cell in 2008.

Since becoming Group Leader, Dr. Abrescia authored several articles, mainly as corresponding author, in relevant journals such as PLoS Biolog, Nuclic Acids Research, Ann. Rev. Biochem., Nature Methods. He has presented his scientific activities in more than 40 congresses, 14 of which as an invited speaker.

Latest Publications












Never as the past two years (2020-2021) have manifested the importance of the research in virology (and immunology). Readiness of action when such pandemic events occur rely on years of basic knowledge accumulated in time and constant technology development. The study of viruses infecting either Bacteria, Archaea or Eukaryotes – and whether from the basic, clinical or translation point of views – is always beneficial to society soon or later. The Abrescia Lab focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms governing viral pathogenesis using structural methods. We study virus assembly, virus cell entry, and virus-antibody recognition mechanisms. Deciphering the principles governing virus assembly allows developing molecular strategies for interfering with its morphogenesis. Expanding our structural knowledge of the virus world (Virosphere) also contributes to establish viral relationships that are undetected at sequence level. Elucidating the virus cell-entry processes provide the possibility of jamming this key-lock mechanism. Antibodies are often used to this purpose and understanding the recognition and neutralization processes greatly increase the possibility of tuning such mechanisms.

To this end, we use an integrative approach based on X-ray crystallography and Electron Microscopy (EM) techniques and complemented with functional studies. Specifically, access to high-end electron microscopy and crystallographic infrastructure is routinely available which allows the group to resolve viruses and viral protein structures to atomic detail. The generated knowledge is intended not only to elucidate molecular mechanisms but also to translate this knowledge into molecular tools (eg. drugs, diagnostics, vaccines) that would improve human and animal health.
Our research fulfils the ONE HEALTH concept and approach to societal challenges enabling the development of new intervention strategies.

Since 2014 the Abrescia Lab has been advocating the democratization of the cryo-EM technique and promoting it in the Basque Country:

Finally, Dr. Abrescia is the coordinator of the BAG-Bilbao for the Basque EM community to access state-of-the-art cryo-EM infrastructures at eBIC-Diamond (UK) for performing high-resolution cryo-EM studies on the topic of molecular recognition and host pathogens interactions.

Latest Publications

Mitochondrial bioenergetics boost macrophage activation, promoting liver regeneration in metabolically compromised animals

Goikoetxea-Usandizaga, N;Serrano-Macia, M;Delgado, TC;Simon, J;Ramos, DF;Barriales, D;Cornide, ME;Jimenez, M;Perez-Redondo, M;Lachiondo-Ortega, S;Rodriguez-Agudo, R;Bizkarguenaga, M;Zalamea, ...



Bacteriophage PRD1 as a nanoscaffold for drug loading

Duyvesteyn, HME;Santos-Perez, I;Peccati, F;Martinez-Castillo, A;Walter, TS;Reguera, D;Goni, FM;Jimenez-Oses, G;Oksanen, HM;Stuart, DI;Abrescia, NGA



Minimal epitope for Mannitou IgM on paucimannose-carrying glycoproteins

Robakiewicz, S;Bridot, C;Serna, S;Gimeno, A;Echeverria, B;Delgado, S;de Ruyck, J;Semwal, S;Charro, D;Dansercoer, A;Verstraete, K;Azkargorta, M;van Noort, K;Wilbers, RHP;Savvides, SN;Abrescia, ...



Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Complex N-Glycans of the Parasite S. mansoni to Examine the Importance of Epitope Presentation on DC-SIGN recognition

Srivastava, AD;Unione, L;Bunyatov, M;Gagarinov, IA;Delgado, S;Abrescia, NGA;Arda, A;Boons, GJ



Cross-Linking Effects Dictate the Preference of Galectins to Bind LacNAc-Decorated HPMA Copolymers

Bertuzzi, S;Gimeno, A;Martinez-Castillo, A;Lete, MG;Delgado, S;Airoldi, C;Tavares, MR;Blahova, M;Chytil, P;Kren, V;Abrescia, NGA;Arda, A;Bojarova, P;Jimenez-Barbero, J



Sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion by flow cytometry reveals the presence of nucleoprotein-reactive antibodies in unexposed individuals

Egia-Mendikute, L;Bosch, A;Prieto-Fernandez, E;Lee, SY;Jimenez-Lasheras, B;del Rio, AG;Antonana-Vildosola, A;Bruzzone, C;Bizkarguenaga, M;Embade, N;Gil-Redondo, R;Martinez-Chantar, ML;Lopez-Hoyos, ...



A novel Schmallenberg virus subunit vaccine candidate protects IFNAR(-/-) mice against virulent SBV challenge

Boshra, H;Lorenzo, G;Charro, D;Moreno, S;Guerra, GS;Sanchez, I;Garrido, JM;Geijo, M;Brun, A;Abrescia, NGA



Structural Characterization of N-Linked Glycans in the Receptor Binding Domain of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein and their Interactions with Human Lectins

Lenza, MP;Oyenarte, I;Diercks, T;Quintana, JI;Gimeno, A;Coelho, H;Diniz, A;Peccati, F;Delgado, S;Bosch, A;Valle, M;Millet, O;Abrescia, NGA;Palazn, A;Marcelo, F;Jimnez-Oss, G;Jimnez-Barbero, ...



Superimposition of Viral Protein Structures: A Means to Decipher the Phylogenies of Viruses

Ravantti, JJ;Martinez-Castillo, A;Abrescia, NGA



The cryo-EM structure of African swine fever virus unravels a unique architecture comprising two icosahedral protein capsids and two lipoprotein membranes

Andres, G;Charro, D;Matamoros, T;Dillard, RS;Abrescia, NGA

The Journal of biological chemistry