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Publications in VIVO

Whitehead, Tim

Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My group designs and engineers proteins. The advent of next-generation sequencing has presented protein scientists with the ability to economically observe entire populations of molecules before, during, and after a high-throughput screen or selection for function. My group leverages this unprecedented wealth of sequence-function information to address key gaps and important fundamental and applied grand challenges in innovative ways: 1. Design and engineering of protein affinity, specificity, and function. Proteins are designable agents in medicine as shown by the incredible success of antibody and pro-drug enzyme therapies. We have enhanced the efficiency of programming specificity, affinity, and stability into proteins. 2. Identifying functional constraints on the evolvability of protein sequences. 3. Plant synthetic biology. We are developing plant sense and respond modules that can turn on and off developmental pathways and metabolism using external chemicals.


  • Protein engineering, protein design, biomolecular recognition, renewable energy production, antibody and antibody mimics, antigen design, synthetic biology, biochemical engineering


selected publications


courses taught

  • CHEN 1000 - Creative Technology
    Secondary Instructor - Spring 2024
    Delve into cutting-edge topics such as the science of climate change, biotechnology, biomedical devices, advanced materials, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability! This course will introduce undergraduate students to the most recent concepts in technology and how these concepts impact all aspects of life, including human health and the health of the planet.
  • CHEN 2120 - Chemical Engineering Material and Energy Balances
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2023 / Spring 2024
    Provides a basic understanding of chemical engineering calculations involving material and energy balances around simple chemical processes.
  • CHEN 5150 - Biomolecular Kinetics, Transport, and Thermodynamics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022 / Fall 2023
    Required for the Biological Engineering PhD. This course covers aspects of kinetics, transport, and thermodynamics as they relate to interactions between biomolecules and cells. These core subjects will be introduced within concepts common to cell biology, protein/genetic engineering, and signaling, among others. Undergraduate enrollment with instructor consent only. Recommended prerequisites: Introductory biology and/or biochemistry, linear algebra, differential equations, thermodynamics, organic chemistry.
  • CHEN 5838 - Special Topics in Chemical Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2022
    Graduate-selected topics courses offered upon demand. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.
  • CHEN 5919 - Special Topics in CHBE
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023 / Fall 2023 / Spring 2024
    May be repeated up to 5 total credit hours.
  • CHEN 6950 - Master's Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2022


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