Short CV/Education and training

Current position

  • Since 2018
    Independent research group leader, Molecular Modelling group at the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (since 01/10/2018)

Previous positions

  • 2013 – 2018
    Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), Taste Lab – Prof. Masha Niv (22/7/2013 – 31/7/2018)

  • 2012
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacy, University of Marburg (Germany), group of Prof. Gerhard Klebe (01/4/2012 – 30/6/2012)


  • 2012
    PhD Degree in Drug Sciences, Doctor Europaeus (issued on 04/06/2012), Department of Drug Sciences, University of Chieti (Italy), – Department of Pharmacy, University of Marburg (Germany). PhD Thesis: Computational and crystallographic studies of zinc-containing enzyme inhibition

  • 2008
    Master Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology 110/110 cum laude, Dep. of Drug Sciences, University of Chieti (Italy), 13/11/2008. Thesis Title: "Appetite regulation: AgRP effect on amine hypothalamic release", awarded with the Best Master Thesis Prices by A.D.S.U. Chieti and B.C.C. Roma

Selected publications

  • Bayer S, Mayer AI, Borgonovo G, Morini G, Di Pizio A, Bassoli A. Chemoinformatics View on Bitter Taste Receptor Agonists in Food. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2021,

  • Cooper KW, Brann DH, Farruggia MC, Bhutani S, Pellegrino R, Tsukahara T, Weinreb C, Joseph PV, Larson ED, Parma V, Albers MW, Barlow LA, Datta SR, Di Pizio A. COVID-19 and the chemical senses: supporting players take center stage. Neuron 2020, doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.06.03.

  • Dunkel A, Hofmann T, Di Pizio A. In-silico investigation of bitter hop-derived compounds and their cognate bitter taste receptors. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2020, doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b07863.

  • Leung N, Thakur DP, Gurav AS, Kim SH, Di Pizio A, Niv MY, Montell C. Functions of Opsins in Drosophila Taste. Current Biology 2020, 30: 1-13, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.01.068.

  • Arafeh R, Di Pizio A, Elkahloun AG, Dym O, Niv MY, Samuels Y*. RASA2 and NF1; two-negative regulators of Ras with complementary functions in melanoma. Oncogene 2018, doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0578-4.

  • Arafeh R, Qutob N, Emmanuel R, Keren-Paz A, Madore J, Elkahloun A, Wilmott JS, Gartner JJ, Di Pizio A, Winograd-Katz S, Sindiri S, Rotkopf R, Dutton-Regester K, Johansson P, Pritchard AL, Waddell N, Hill VK, Lin JC, Hevroni Y, Rosenberg SA, Khan J, Ben-Dor S, Niv MY, Ulitsky I, Mann GJ, Scolyer RA, Hayward NK, Samuels Y. Recurrent inactivating RASA2 mutations in melanoma. Nature Genetics 2015, 47(12): 1408-10.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Structure-based drug design of GPCRs

  • Modeling of low-resolution GPCR structures

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Grants Awarding Committee at the ERNEST Cost Action CA18133

  • Working Group Leader [WG3] of the ERNEST Cost Action CA18133

  • Working Group Leader of the Italian team in the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) consortium, established to study smell and taste disorders associated with COVID-19

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