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Giovanna Zinzalla Project

Assistant Professor (Senior) in Chemical Biology
Giovanna Zinzalla

Centre for Advanced Cancer Therapies (ACT), Karolinska Institute, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden

Phone: +46 (0) 8524 81262 (office)
Mobile: +46 735 668336
Visiting address:
Science for Life Laboratory
Chemical Biology
Alpha house, Level 5,
Rooms: A5590 (office), A5672 (laboratory)
Tomtebodavägen 23A
171 65 Stockholm, Sweden

Postal address:

Science for Life Laboratory
Box 1031,
171 21 Stockholm, Sweden

Dissecting and Manipulating Transcription Factor Networks

My research focuses on dissecting how transcription factors control cell differentiation, growth, metabolic activities and apoptosis. My strategy involves the use of chemical probes to modulate protein-protein interactions, with the ultimate goal of developing therapeutics. To this aim I lead an interdisciplinary team of scientists whose efforts encompass biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry and structural biology.

Areas of Expertise

Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry, Structural Biology, Biochemical and Biophysical Assays, Structure-Based Molecular Design, Protein-Protein Interactions, Drug Discovery, Cancer Research

Research Collaborations

  • Dr Mark Bycroft, MRC LMB, Cambridge, UK
  • Professor Jane Clarke, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Professor Gerard Evan, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Dr. Björn Windshügel, Fraunhofer Institute IME, Germany
  • Professor Lars-Gunnar Larsson, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden


Dr Zinzalla obtained her first class honours Laurea in Chemistry (equivalent to MChem) from the University of Milan and carried out her PhD studies with Professor Stefano Maiorana and Dr Clara Baldoli also at the University of Milan. For her PhD research she was awarded the Young Researcher Award by the Italian Ministry of Education and Science. Her research focused on the development of metal complex conjugates of Peptide Nucleic Acids as novel biosensors, and she investigated novel traceless linkers for solid-phase synthesis of drug-like small molecules in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.

In 2004 she was awarded a Marie Curie EIF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and appointed as Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge with Professor Steven Ley. Here she initiated a new project focused on exploring the role of molecular diversity for drug discovery, with the design of natural product-like small molecules as novel therapeutic agents.

In June 2006 she joined the School of Pharmacy, University College London (UCL) (London, UK) as a Senior Research Fellow funded by Cancer Research UK (CR UK), within the CR UK Protein-Protein Interactions Drug Discovery Research Group. As co-PI of a CR UK Small Molecule Drug Discovery Initiative Programme she led research projects aimed at discovering PPI inhibitors of transcriptional factors such as Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3).

Since 2012 she has held a Forskare position as a junior PI/Assistant Professor in Chemical Biology at the Centre for Advanced Cancer Therapies (ACT), MTC Department.

Selected publications








Tetracycline analogues with a selective inhibitory effect on HIF-1alpha
Bendiabdellah Y, Rahman, KM, Uranchimeg B, Nahar KS, Antonow D, Shoemaker R.H., Melillo G, Zinzalla G, Thurston, DE
Med. Chem. Commun., 2014,5, 923-926.

Understanding and Exploiting ProteinProtein Interactions as Drug Targets
Zinzalla, Giovanna
October 2013, Future Medicine book series, Publisher: Future Science Group














Bendiabdellah, Y.; Margalef-Villanueva, I.; Misale, A.; Nahar, K.; Haque, M.R.; Thurston, D.E.; Zinzalla, G.
One-pot synthesis of fused tetracyclic scaffolds via a Lewis acid promoted domino reaction of naphthoquinones
Synthesis 2011, 14, 2321
View the Abstract Online

Baldoli, C.; Giannini, C.; Licandro, E.; Maiorana, S.; Zinzalla, G.,
A Thymine-PNA monomer as new isocyanide component in the Ugi reaction: a direct entry to PNA dimers
Synlett, 2004, 6, 1044
View the Abstract Online