Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Ecker

University of Vienna

 Anniversary brochure contribution by Gerhard Ecker

Researcher's Profile

Research interests: 

  • Molecular basis of ligand-transporter interaction
  • Predictive models for ADME and toxicity
  • Data-mining and data integration in life sciences
  • Structure-based design approaches for polyspecific proteins
  • Deep Learning and Artificial intelligence in toxicity prediction

Since March 1st, 2019, Gerhard Ecker is the Speaker of the MolTag Doctoral Program (3rd Funding Period). Gerhard Ecker heads the Pharmacoinformatics Research Group at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Vienna. He also coordinates the research focus "Computational Life Sciences" of the Faculty of Life Sciences. He studied pharmacy and received his doctorate in natural sciences form the University of Vienna under the supervision of Wilhelm Fleischhacker and Christian Noe. After his post-doctoral training at the group of J. Seydel in Borstel (Germany) he was appointed associate professor for medicinal chemistry at the University of Vienna in 1998 and is full professor for pharmacoinformatics from October 2009. He has published more than 100 articles related to SAR and QSAR studies on P-glycoprotein and his main scientific interests include pharmacoinformatic approaches to target drug efflux pumps, in silico high throughput screening methods for promiscuous targets and antitargets, and non-linear methods in drug design. Since 2018 he is Dean of the Faculty for Life Sciences of the University of Vienna. Gerhard Ecker was vice-chair of the Senate of the University of Vienna 2006 – 2009, Vice-President of the Austrian Pharmaceutical Society (2006 – 2013) and President of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (2009 – 2011). Since Oct 2009 on he also coordinates the EUROPIN PhD Programme in Pharmacoinformatics and is member of the research cluster (SFB) Transmembrane Transporters in Health and Disease, funded by the Austrian Science Fund. 


Career highlights:

  • Since 2019 Speaker of the MolTag Doctoral Program
  • Since 2018 Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna
  • 2018 Co-Founder Phenaris Softwaredevelopment and –consulting GmbH
  • Since 2009 Full Professor of Pharmacoinformatics, University of Vienna
  • 2003 – 2009 Member and 2006 – 2009 Vice Chair of the Senate of the University of Vienna
  • 2014 - 2018 Vice Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna


Selected Grants and Awards:

  • Honorary Fellow of the European Federation for Medical Chemistry (EFMC); 2020
  • Coordinator of the EUROPIN PhD Program in Pharmacoinformatics
  • Coordinator of the IMI project Open PHACTS
  • Partner in IMI projects eTOX, K4DD, TransQST, eTRANSAFE
  • Partner in the SFB35 – Transmembrane Transporters in Health and Disease
  • Editor Molecular Informatics


Ongoing MolTag research projects as supervisor:

  • Aljosa SMAJIC: Decentralized Machine Learning Approaches for Toxicity Predictions
  • Jiahui HUANG: Structure landscape analysis and functional mapping of disease-relevant mutations on SLC transporters
  • Nejra GRANULO: The Macrocyclic Landscape of Solute Carrier Transporters
  • Abir OMRAN: Toxicity predictions of biological drugs


Completed projects as supervisor:

  • Barbara FUEZI: Analysing and modelling pathways related to hepato- and neurotoxicity, finished 12/2022
  • Jennifer HEMMERICH: Deep learning for toxicity prediction; finished 06/2020
  • Stefanie KICKINGER: Computational Studies of SLC Transporters with Special Focus on the GABA Transporter Subfamily, finished 04/2020
  • Eva HELLSBERG: Computational studies of molecular interactions in the human dopamine and serotonin transporters, finished 09/2019
  • Sankalp JAIN: Structure and Ligand based approaches to target the two ABC-transporter BSEP and MDR3, finished 11/2018
  • Daria GOLDMANN: Selectivity Profiling of Ligands towards GABAA and TRPV1 Receptors, finished 09/2015
  • Andreas JURIK: Comparative Modeling Studies for Profiling of the GABA Transporter System, finished 05/2015
  • Amir SEDDIK: Substrate Selectivity Profiling of Monoamine transporters, finished 07/2015


Completed projects as co-supervisor:

  • Tobias LINDER: Pore gating of potassium channels and its relevance for drug effects; finished 12/2014
  • Saha KUSUMIKA: LRET-based distance measurements in the mammalian glutamate transporter EAAC1; finished 02/2016
  • Santosh K. VENKATESAN: LRET-based distance measurements in a bacterial homolog to mammalian glutamate transporter GltPh; finished 02/2016
  • Harald BERNSTEINER: Atomistic insight into function and dysfunction of inward-rectifier potassium channels; finished 12/2019