Sean Connell
Sean Connell
Ikerbasque Research Associate
Ikerbasque Research Associate
Structure and Cell Biology of Viruses Lab
Address: Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, building 800, Derio (Bizkaia)

Sean Connell is a Ikerbasque Research Fellow and has been working in the Structural Biology Unit of the CIC bioGUNE since January 2013. His research interests focuses on understanding, at a biochemical and structural level, the molecular details of chemical reactions driving macromolecular machines. He has expertise in the preparation of macromolecular complexes for structural studies, functional characterization of complexes by biophysical means and the structural investigation of macromolecular complexes by cryo-EM.

Dr. Connell graduated from University of Alberta (Canada) in 1997 with a B.Sc. in biochemistry. With funding by an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Studentship he earned his Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology in 2003 from the University of Alberta (Canada) and was awarded the Cangene Gold Award from the Canadian Society for Microbiologists for his thesis on the tetracycline resistance protein Tet(O). From 2003-2006, and with the support of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, he completed his first post-doc at the Universitätsklinikum Charite (Berlin, Germany) where under the supervision of Prof. Spahn he began using cryo-electron microscopy to characterize complexes of the translational machinery. From 2007-2012 he worked as an independent researcher at the Goethe-Universität (Frankfurt, Germany) and studied macromolecular machines like the ribosome and fatty acid sythetase using cryo-electron microscopy. Currently as a Principle Investigator in the CIC bioGUNE (2013-present) he is studying the role of GTPases in coordinating molecular machines, anti-infectives that target the initiation phase of protein synthesis and the structure of the polyketide synthase.

Latest Publications





The Abrescia Lab’s field of expertise is in Structural Biology and Virology. The research group is focused on the understanding of viral pathogenesis, the virus-cell recognition mechanisms and the assembly principles of viruses.
Major targets of the investigation are viruses with an internal membrane and biomedical relevant human and animal enveloped viruses (members of the Flaviviridae and Bunyaviridae families).
The Abrescia Lab integrates state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, electron tomography structural techniques and biophysical methods such as Circular Dichroism and Multi-laser light scattering (MALLS) with expertise in recombinant protein production in bacterial and mammalian cell systems.
Specifically, access to high-end crystallographic and electron microscopy infrastructure is routinely available which allows the group to resolve the viral structures to atomic detail. New lines of research directed to the development of DNA vaccines and to the study of the mechanical properties of viruses are been established with success.
Finally, the group combines the generated structural knowledge with functional studies thanks to a network of worldwide recognized collaborators in the academic and private sectors.

Latest Publications

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;Palazon, A;Marcelo, F;Jimenez-Oses, G;Jimenez-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


Membrane-Containing Icosahedral Bacteriophage PRD1: The Dawn of Viral Lineages.

Oksanen, Hanna M; Abrescia, Nicola G A

Advances in experimental medicine and biology


Structural basis for assembly of vertical single beta-barrel viruses

Santos-Perez, I;Charro, D;Gil-Carton, D;Azkargorta, M;Elortza, F;Bamford, DH;Oksanen, HM;Abrescia, NGA



Membrane-containing virus particles exhibit the mechanics of a composite material for genome protection

Azinas, S(Azinas, S.);Bano, F(Bano, F.);Torca, I(Torca, I.);Bamford, DH(Bamford, D. H.);Schwartz, GA(Schwartz, G. A.);Esnaola, J(Esnaola, J.);Oksanen, HM(Oksanen, H. M.);Richter, RP(Richter, ...



Rules of engagement between alpha v beta 6 integrin and foot-and-mouth disease virus

Kotecha, A(Kotecha, Abhay);Wang, Q(Wang, Quan);Dong, XC(Dong, Xianchi);Ilca, SL(Ilca, Serban L.);Ondiviela, M(Ondiviela, Marina);Zihe, R(Zihe, Rao);Seago, J(Seago, Julian);Charleston, B(Charleston, ...

Nature communications


Identification and characterization of a heterotrimeric archaeal DNA polymerase holoenzyme

Yan, JY(Yan, Jiangyu);Beattie, TR(Beattie, Thomas R.);Rojas, AL(Rojas, Adriana L.);Schermerhorn, K(Schermerhorn, Kelly);Gristwood, T(Gristwood, Tamzin);Trinidad, JC(Trinidad, Jonathan C.);Albers, ...

Nature communications


DNA vaccination regimes against Schmallenberg virus infection in IFNAR(-/-) mice suggest two targets for immunization

Boshra, HY(Boshra, Hani Y.);Charro, D(Charro, Diego);Lorenzo, G(Lorenzo, Gema);Sanchez, I(Sanchez, Isbene);Lazaro, B(Lazaro, Beatriz);Brun, A(Brun, Alejandro);Abrescia, NGA(Abrescia, Nicola ...

Antiviral research