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
CHEN 5150 - Biomolecular Kinetics, Transport, and Thermodynamics
Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
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.