Dr. Mercadante was awarded his PhD diploma by The University of Auckland after being awarded Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biotechnology at The University Federico II in Naples, Italy. He has undertaken postdoctoral research at both the Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, Germany and is now a senior postdoctoral research fellow in the single-molecule biophysics group at The University of Zürich, Switzerland. He is also currently affiliated with the in-cell NMR group of Professor Philipp Selenko at the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology in Berlin.
He holds experimental and computational expertise and is interested in the integration of both experiments and simulations. In this way, his research provides a multifaceted structural and mechanistic understanding of molecular processes to elucidate the role of macromolecules in relevant microenvironmental contexts and for food industry applications.
He is presently researching the processive activity of plant cell wall enzymes and how their fine tuning can yield pectin with controlled degrees of methylation. In parallel, he is coupling the co-evolutionary analysis of protein sequences, homology modeling and molecular dynamics simulations and experiments to design pectin methyl esterase enzyme inhibitors with greater thermal and pressure stability. This will allow the efficient use of these proteins in many aspects of the food industry. Other lines of research include the study of intrinsically disordered proteins and their micro-environmentally controlled phase-separating activities for applications in the development of new functional foods and desiccation-resistant food crops.
The University of Zurich & The Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Berlin)