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Camilo Perez

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Assistant Professor

Dr. Camilo Perez received his Ph.D. in Structural Biology of Membrane Proteins in 2012, at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany. For his work on the mechanism of osmoregulated transporters, Camilo received the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society, along with a summa cum laude Ph.D. from Goethe University Frankfurt. He then moved to the laboratory of Prof. Kaspar Locher at ETH Zürich, where he received an EMBO long-term fellowship and an ETH postdoctoral fellowship. At ETH, Camilo elucidated the structure and mechanism of an ABC transporter flippase involved in protein N-glycosylation in the bacterial pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. In 2017, Camilo received a non-tenure track assistant professorship from the Swiss National Science Foundation, to establish his research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in Switzerland. His team focuses on the mechanistic biology of membrane proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis in bacterial pathogens (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae). In 2020, Camilo was awarded the Young Investigator award from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). In 2024, Camilo joined the University of Georgia as a tenure-track assistant professor, where his team will expand their scientific research.


ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Postdoctoral Researcher (2017)

Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt, Germany. Postdoctoral Researcher (2013)

Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt, Germany. Ph.D. (2012)

National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia. MSc Biochemistry. (2008)

Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, Germany. Internship. (2007)

ESPCI ParisTech, Paris, France. Internship. (2007)

National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia. Diploma in Chemistry. (2006)

Research Interests:

My lab aims to elucidate the mechanism of transporters, flippases, and polymerases involved in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, unravel how their function influences bacterial adaptation, discover inhibitory molecules for the development of new antimicrobials, and repurpose the activity of these proteins for applications in the synthesis of glycoconjugates.

Our motivation is two-fold:

First, in this era of rapidly diminishing antibiotic efficacy, understanding bacteria intrinsic vulnerabilities is fundamental for antibiotic development. The bacterial cell wall exerts essential protective functions against environmental insults. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of proteins and pathways involved in cell wall synthesis is extremely relevant to reveal the adaptation mechanisms of bacteria and for rational design of drugs. My Lab uses single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), X-ray crystallography, and diverse biochemical/biophysical methods to study the function of cell wall membrane proteins and elucidate their mechanism.

Second, continuing to use antibiotics is not a long-term strategy, as it may favor the selection of more resistant bacterial strains. Vaccines are an effective measure to counteract this growing problem. Among the many different types of vaccines developed during the last two centuries, conjugate-vaccines where bacterial cell wall glycans are covalently coupled to an immunogenic protein carrier, have been shown to promote long-lasting protection against pathogens, even among persons in high-risk groups. However, their synthesis routes are far from trivial. My lab is interested in understanding the mechanism of cell wall membrane proteins, and repurpose their activity to develop tools for the synthesis of new conjugate vaccines.

Selected Publications:
Other Website:

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